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Penquis Participates in the Faces of the Poor Event

May 23, 2012

It was a privilege for Penquis to take part in the Faces of the Poor event hosted by Pat LaMarche and Zone Radio, where seven brave individual shared their stories of homelessness, poverty, and survival.


The walkway of Gracie Theater at Husson College was lined with hundreds of shoes to remind those who attended the event not to judge others until you have walked in their shoes. Guest speaker, Brandon said, “I’m not sure what all those shoes are supposed to represent but if they are supposed to represent homeless people’s shoes, they are way too nice.”

He then recalled a time when the insides of his shoes were so worn that the rubber frames in the soles were all that separated him from the ground. He recalled the huge blisters that he developed from walking 18-20 miles a day in those shoes.

Brandon’s dad died when he was 12 and his mom died when he was 17. After his parents died he became a homeless teenager. With help from Penquis and Eastern Maine Development Corporation’s Pathways program, Brandon was hired to winterize houses. He is now an apprentice at one of the largest construction firms in Maine.

The Bangor Daily News reports, “While the stories were moving, powerful, funny and inspiring, above all they were brutally honest.” One speaker, who grew up in poverty, said he did not know bananas were yellow until he started going to school because the only ones his widowed father could get for him and his twin were the bruised, browned castoffs from a nearby store. Read the full BDN article.