by Lisa Tome
Summer and Robert went out to eat on Thursday night.
The couple, Summer, 26, and Robert, 25, were grabbing a meal at Bethel Lutheran Church in North East which was served up by volunteers from Nicanor and local churches.
After dinner, Summer and Robert were headed back to the gazebo that they call home.
"We come here Tuesday and Thursday. The food is good. It's a little bland, but that's nothing salt and pepper can't fix. Maybe some people can't have salt. I'm homeless. I'm not allowed to go home due to family issues. I sleep in a gazebo. This town isn't nice to the homeless," said Summer, who is the mother of four children, all of whom are currently in foster care. She expects to have custody of her children in late October.
Her fiance' Robert, has a plan. He wants to take Summer and go to Reno. "I'm trying to go out west," said Robert.
James, 43, was eating his dinner across the room from Robert and Summer. James has been looking for work.
"My boss for nine years sold the company. My unemployment ran out and I have no transportation. I need to work, but it's hard to find work," said James, who lives in a shed in Lakeside Mobile Home Park.
"They treat you good here. I come here depending on if it was a good week or a bad week. I want to work. I can do landscaping or blacktop," said James.
Retiree Bill Curry of Port Deposit has volunteered to serve food to the homeless and families in need for four years.
"We're all church people here. I'm from Tome (United Methodist). I help serve the food," said Curry. "These people that come here, they fell through the cracks. They have other problems. They are the silent minority."
Mike and Edwina Flannery have been feeding people through Nicanor for five years. Thursday night's menu included green beans, chicken and dumplings, carrots, red cabbage, potatoes, homemade dessert and more. Those who turned out could dine in or carry out. They also received some non-perishable food to take home.
Edwina Flannery said that those who turn out include the homeless. There are also seniors and people who live in low income housing.
"We have the homeless and the working poor. We are starting to see more families. People want to work and they can't get jobs. And the jobs out there are $7 an hour," said Mike Flannery. Flannery said that he and Edwina feed people because they were "called by God."
He said he welcomes everyone to attend the meals at Bethel Lutheran which are held Tuesdays and Thursday from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
"If you're hungry, you're hungry. We've fed people in suits who drive cars better than mine. I don't know their problems," said Flannery, who just wants to feed those in need.
Edwina said there is a lot of generosity to be seen there. She said one man comes and takes food to others in need.
"There's a lot of different circumstances here. We give out tents and sleeping bags. We see a lot of substance abuse. I'm a recovering drug addict. I don't judge. We don't know anyone's story," said Mike Flannery. "The families with kids? The parents are idiots. But you can't hold that against the kids."