Boba, Lewiston Housing partner to provide meals to food insecure residents
in: LH News on: 08/15/2020
Boba is producing 130 meals a week to be delivered to residents of Healy Terrace Apartments for Seniors and Blake Street Towers.
LEWISTON — With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Zachary Pratt wants to make sure the people who need food have the opportunity to get it.
The managing partner and chef at Boba in Lewiston was contacted by Lewiston Housing to see if he wanted to join Cooking for Community based out of Portland. Pratt was interested, and Lewiston Housing put Pratt in contact with Ellie Linen Low, founding member of the grassroots organization that raises money to fund restaurants that need work to prepare healthy meals for people who need food.
Cooking for Community was created in April as a response to the pandemic, as people began to lose jobs and not have enough money for food.
“It’s in our morals and values as a company, so we figured why not help simply by cooking gourmet food and support our local community who have food insecurities,” Pratt said. “It aligns what Boba is. Boba is definitely about community, supporting people who are in need in this area. We really wanted to change how people viewed food in the Lewiston-Auburn area. We wanted to … show how people can be brought together by food. I think everybody should have a chance at a nutritious meal.”
Boba serves Asian-themed dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and China
Lewiston Housing heard about Cooking for Community through Bath Housing and contacted them about a similar partnership.
Once the partnership between Lewiston Housing was formed with Cooking For Community, that’s when they reached out to Boba to provide meals for the pilot program once a week starting Aug. 7.
Lewiston Housing serves Healy Terrace Apartments for Seniors located on 81 Ash St. and Blake Street Towers at 70 Blake St.
“We notified all the residents that this was an option; we delivered meals to every single resident at Blake Street Towers and Healy Terrace,” Lewiston Housing Deputy Executive Director Travis Heynen said.
Heynen hopes in the future that all the Lewiston Housing properties will be served.
Boba was chosen because of its location on Lisbon Street.
“They are in downtown Lewiston, near the properties they are serving,” Heynen said. “It’s definitely a great natural fit.”
According to Heynen, residents have shown appreciation for the new service. But it’s not the first time Lewiston Housing has partnered with a restaurant during the pandemic.
“Early on in the pandemic, we recognized food insecurities would be an issue for our residents because many of them are seniors; many of the people have disabilities so they are at a higher risk of exposure. So, going to the grocery store or just going out and about is just a lot more risky for many of our residents. We started working early on with different community partners to connect our residents with food.”
Lewiston Housing started working with the St. Mary’s Nutritional Center and the Green Ladle.
Pratt has heard from a lot of residents over the past week, thanking them for the meals that were provided.
“It’s been good so far. I have been getting a lot of messages (from people) who were in the housing project from the Lewiston Housing program; they were sending (private messages) on our Facebook page thanking us for the food that was provided,” Pratt said. “They said it was the first time trying this type of food. They felt like it was nutritious for them. They were very appreciative.”
Pratt is encouraging other restaurants and farmers to get involved with the Cooking for Community Program. His goal is to curb food insecurities and to one day be able to provide 1,000-2,000 meals a week in Lewiston. Pratt has already teamed up with Chirp Creek Farm in Lisbon and Caren Farm in Auburn by purchasing produce to cook the meals.
“The objective for us is to raise enough money to continue this program in the Lewiston-Auburn area,” Pratt said. “I feel it’s very important to address food insecurities, it’s a huge thing in America right now. We definitely want to be a part of curbing that to the general public.”
Cooking for Community has raised enough money to last until the end of September, and Pratt hopes to raise enough money to fund the program until the end of the year.