Winslow Man is Giving Back in a Big Way
Pastor Ken Stevens runs the Northeast Dream Center in Winslow, a wonderful place that works to feed the area's hungry. Now, he has a plan that would expand the center and would also offer employment opportunities for people who find it tough to get jobs. But he can't do it alone!
The Northeast Dream Center is kind of a clearing house...a hub for food collection and distribution to over 30 food pantries and soup kitchens in Somerset and northern Kennebec counties. The food comes from a variety of places and is sorted and distributed by a league of volunteers.
There is also a woodworking shop in the warehouse that produces beautiful pine furniture. The merchandise is then sold wholesale and the proceeds support the food operation.
At the center of all of this is Pastor Ken Stevens, who is a former State Director of the Surplus Property Program under former Governor James Longley. But his life changed when, in 1991 he lost two fingers in a saw blade accident while making furniture. They were reattached but Ken tells the Morning Sentinel that his life fell apart. He lost everything, became homeless, and was contemplating taking his own life when he said it came to him that he was meant to help people. And help he does!
Stevens also works as a crisis counselor and provides clothing to the poor. He admitted to the Morning Sentinel that he's a workaholic, but he doesn't get a paycheck for the work he does at the Center.
Now, he wants to expand! Stevens has found a larger building for rent in Waterville where he wants to expand the food hub, and add some refrigeration to keep the produce fresher longer. There would also be a discount merchandise store and, of course, the furniture shop.
In addition, he wants to provide space for 20 start-up businesses, as well as jobs and training for people, especially those who are considered "unemployable." All in all, Stevens has dedicated his life to the people of Maine.
But like everything in life, nothing is free. The project will cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to move the food, woodworking shop, and office to the Waterville site. Ken's been out soliciting funds, but he sure could use some help. For more information, check out the Center's website!