The nurses of the Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor have taken on a new monthly assignment: feeding the community with the help of The Salvation Army Bangor Citadel Corps.
“These ICU nurses had been part of our Angel Tree Christmas program in the past,” says Kristie Clark, a case worker and community liaison for The Salvation Army. “Six months after the Christmas season ended, the nurses all came back and asked, ‘What more can we do?’
“But what these nurses do goes far beyond volunteering. When they come, they’re not just serving a meal; they bring the recipes, provide all the necessary ingredients down to the spices, and prepare all the food themselves. All we give them is the kitchen,” says Kristie. “They have their own system. So, when they arrive, I tell everyone, ‘ICU is here, get out of their way!’”
The Bangor Corps recently resumed indoor meals. Knowing that it was important for volunteers to see the people they serve, the ICU nurses brought plates of food to each person.
“That act is a very kind, very humbling way to show that you’re working to be of service for someone,” says Kristie.
After a local TV station aired a story on the nurses and their work for The Salvation Army, the corps was blessed with new eyes on and open hearts towards the Army’s mission. As a result, people asked how they could also volunteer.
“You would not believe the number of agencies and groups that have come to us asking how they can help,” says Kristie.
Another group of nurses from St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor, who already had volunteered at the corps doing food ministries, asked Kristie if there was anything else they could do for The Salvation Army.
“They said they didn’t want Eastern Maine showing them up,” says Kristie, laughing. “So, they did other jobs, like cleaning and filing papers in our offices.”
In seeing so many health professionals pause their busy schedules to serve, Kristie says that it has made people realize that, if nurses can make time to volunteer, so can anyone.
“Everyone can see that amazing things are being done by The Salvation Army for the community, and if you have even just an hour, come on down, and take part in serving others with us,” says Kristie.