Belfast city manager speaks out about newspaper headline he says is misleading

BELFAST, Maine (WABI) - The city manager of Belfast is upset about a recent newspaper headline and photo that brought the city a lot of negative attention.

"The national news media picks it up, and I guess it was all over the country that Belfast, Maine is this uncaring place that throws tents at the homeless," says Joseph Slocum.

He says a newspaper article written about a group of people working to provide tents and camping gear to some of the homeless population in the city was fair, but the headline and photo attached to it were not.

"They had a photograph next to the story that wasn't taken, I guarantee, anywhere in the state of Maine," says Sloclum.

He goes on to say, "Well, that's not the city, and this never will be the city."

Slocum says they work daily to help those who are homeless or facing homelessness.

"We work with state and region, we work with the towns and the neighborhoods, we work with entities in the city all trying to find ways to help people who are homeless."

"You know, I have been on the other side. I, myself, have needed resources in the past," says Mary Guindon.

Over at the No Greater Love Food Pantry, Guindon, known as Mama G, says they're just one link of a chain of information passed throughout the county.

"It's whatever we can do, really. If they ask us, we'll try and find it for them," she says.

Located at the VFW on Field Street, they can see anywhere from 60 to 90 families looking for food on a weekly basis.

"We've fed for the last year, for three years over 21,000 meals," says Mary Brand, Board President of the Belfast Soup Kitchen.

Over at the mostly volunteer-based Belfast Soup Kitchen, they're feeding seniors, veterans, and others in need. After years of consideration, they're building a new facility nearby.

"It's been a lot of work. It's been a long road. It's been a huge leap of faith," she says.

"If people need help and you're here in Belfast, don't hesitate to knock on this door and we'll see what we can do to help you," says Slocum.

The Belfast Soup Kitchen is located at 1 Belmont Ave. They can be reached at 338-4845 and are open Mon - Fri from 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.

No Greater Love Food Pantry serves people from anywhere in Waldo County and nearby towns and is open on Sundays from 12:45 to 2.