Loaves & Fishes objective increases during challenges of pandemic

The Loaves & Fishes meals kitchen provides clothing and food to area people in need. Contributed

SABATTUS — For a ministry with a mission that is sole of individuals in crisis within the Sabattus area, Loaves & Fishes — operated by the Dominican Sisters, OP — has faced challenges through the pandemic.

Located At the Sisters’ convent on Lisbon Road, Loaves & Fishes has provided clothing and food to those in need since 1997. The food pantry serves residents of the grouped community who’re in need of assistance, aside from spiritual affiliation.

When The crisis that is COVID-19, the number of local people in need rose and continued to grow when another area food pantry was forced to close.

“Our food pantry clients have become more numerous because of unemployment and because of that closure. More people needed help with housing, rent, utilities and expenses that are medical. Mortgages have grown to be a touch too high for them at this time, risking loss in homes and automobiles. These folks need to make alternatives between purchasing meals and utilities that are paying other bills. We needed to step up and help,” said Sr. Jacqueline Provencher, OP. “We have been able to help many by giving them food for their families and paying some of their bills.”

The first step in confronting the increase in need was to ensure that Loaves & Fishes, as well as the sisters’ thrift shop, Hidden Treasures, would still be able to offer support.

“The first area affected was our resources,” said Provencher. “Without those resources, we would have very little to offer to people in need. We depend on donors who contribute financially. Some of our donors had to significantly cut back on their donations during the pandemic, because of unemployment and uncertainty about the future. We additionally depend on the Loaves & Fishes bingo for the base that is financial we have not been able to have bingo since March.”

The Dominican Sisters arrived in Sabattus to serve the community in the late 1920s, farming, raising cows and chickens. The Dominican Sisters, led by Sr. Lucille Fournier, OP, devoted themselves to providing food and clothing to those in need through the Loaves & Fishes ministry in the mid-1990s. Sr. Lucille passed away in 2014, but her work has proceeded.

“Some of our volunteers contracted COVID-19 and needed to be hospitalized. Now, one volunteer is within the ICU, on a ventilator plus in an coma that is induced” said Provencher. “We ask for prayers for him, his family, and so many others who are in the same situation.”

Financial donations, nonperishable food items and clothing and furniture for Hidden Treasures will help the program continue offering assistance. For more information, visit sabattusdominicans.org or email [email protected]. Those wishing may mail a check also made down to “Loaves & Fishes” to Loaves & Fishes, 61 Lisbon path, Sabattus, ME 04280.

Hidden Treasures things is scheduled and viewed for pickup on the thrift shop’s Facebook page, facebook.com/LoavesFishesHiddenTreasures, And updates on the food pantry are provided at the Loaves & Fishes Facebook page, facebook.com/Loaves-Fishes-of-Sabattus-Maine-320698623802.

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