Homeless Services of Aroostook is facing challenges serving meals and providing food to its residents.

The reasons for the difficulties are varied. A storage pantry was turned into a shelter space in June named the "Aroostook Bridge;" Support and enthusiasm for the "Meal Train" has waned; Residency numbers have increased and budgets for food have changed.

The "Meal Train" is where volunteers donate food and meals from outside the shelter and in-house food and meals aren't needed as much, but the numbers have dropped off and the shelter is having to rely more on its own resources.

And with colder months approaching, the shelter has seen an increase in residents. The shelter currently has 19 adults and six children utilizing its services. Serving that many people can be costly, so the shelter looks to community groups and individuals to help out. For more information about the meal train, contact the shelter or visit their Facebook page.

The United Way of Aroostook has come up with a short-term solution to the shortage. They have set up a tree outside their office at the Aroostook Center Mall with gift tags and envelopes decorating the tree. The tags have various dollar amounts printed on them.  Individuals, families, groups, or businesses are encouraged to choose a tag from the tree and mail it along with the dollar amount to United Way at 830 Main St, Presque Isle, ME 04769. The money will then be turned into food that the shelter needs to feed their residents.

For more information about the tree project or the Meal Train, contact United Way of Aroostook at 764-5197.