New freezer will help provide meals to Valley seniors

FORT KENT, Maine — Thanks to a $15,000 grant from Meals on Wheels America, the Fort Kent Senior Center can now store meals to benefit a number of St. John Valley seniors.

The Aroostook Agency on Aging Aroostook Agency on Aging received the grant to support the purchase of a new freezer. The nonprofit agency oversees the Meals on Wheels program in Aroostook County, which serves 238 St. John Valley residents.

The new 10-foot-by-24-foot walk-in freezer was delivered to the Fort Kent Senior Center on Wednesday, Oct. 7. 

The freezer will be filled with frozen meals and become a distribution point to provide food for seniors throughout the St. John Valley.

Consumer needs for the Meals on Wheels program in Aroostook County have been steadily increasing since the COVID-19 pandemic began. 

Aroostook Agency on Aging received grant money from Meals on Wheels America to purchase a new freezer to serve St. John Valley seniors. From left are: Joy Barresi-Saucier, executive director, Aroostook Agency on Aging; Alicia Schenk, Meals on Wheels dining center director in Fort Kent; John Hoffman, Polar King International truck driver; Erin Casey, nutrition specialist, Aroostook Agency on Aging; and Reggie Deschaine, president, Fort Kent Senior Citizen Club. (Courtesy of Don Raymond)

“One thing COVID-19 has done is demonstrate food insecurity in The County,” said Aroostook Agency on Aging Communications and Development Coordinator Mark Putnam. 

“We have received a variety of phone calls from consumers that need food now, many are frightened of the virus and afraid to go out and shop, most are older with pre-existing health conditions and are at increased risk to contract it, and still others have very limited support systems,” the grant application reads. 

The walk-in freezer is designed to serve the northern Maine region well, according to Fort Kent Senior Center board member Don Raymond. 

“The outside of the freezer is made of fiberglass rather than metal; the advantage is that the fiberglass freezers can be installed outside a building and are not affected by the elements,” said Raymond. 

In addition to overseeing Meals on Wheels in The County, Aroostook Agency on Aging provides transportation and home care to local elderly persons. The agency also serves as a source of information, education and resources for older folks and their caregivers. 

To learn more about any of the services provided by the Aroostook Agency on Aging call 207-764-3396 or 1-800-439-1789, or email

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