BANGOR — Hope for Homeless is an organization that has become well-known in the Bangor area for assisting folks experiencing homelessness for about four years now.
“Little by little, we grew, but the last two years, we have literally exploded,” said Ann Sweeney, co-founder of Hope for Homeless.
Sweeney and the village of volunteers and donors collect and distribute necessities, such as food and clothing, to the homeless.
She said the pandemic has created more of a need.
“COVID realized how much we weren’t covering,” Sweeney said. “Each day, we find new needs, it seems like.”
Hope for Homeless relies on grants and donations, and the group was recently awarded a $10,500 grant from the city of Bangor.
“Prioritization for the Cares Act funds that we received was to address homeless issues and food insecurity,” said Tyler Collins, the community and economic development officer for the city of Bangor. “The folks at Hope for Homeless, I think check both of those boxes.”
Sweeney said this grant will provide them with 90 days of assistance.
“It’s going to mean so much. We can feed these people that do not have shelter beds,” Sweeney said. “We’re going to be able to help out full force now our outreach workers.”
“Whatever the shelters need, we want to be there for them,” she said.
Sweeney said not only will they be providing about 50 bagged lunches to the homeless each day this summer, but they’ll also be giving about 100 “blessing bags” to case managers working in the field each week.
“We’re gonna feed, continue to feed, but the grant doesn’t stop me there. My job is not done, nor anybody on our board,” Sweeney said. “We’re always looking for more grants.”
After the pandemic, Sweeney said they hope to be able to help with housing needs as well.
“Homeless people are human. They deserve our respect. They deserve to keep their dignity,” Sweeney said. “Just give them a second chance.”