AUBURN — Farmers and funders gathered at Good Shepherd Food Bank on Dec. 4 to celebrate a successful year of collaboration in the food bank’s Mainers Feeding Mainers program.
The annual Harvest Celebration, which the organization has hosted for three years, gives it an opportunity to say thank-you to the people who provide locally grown food, and the funding needed to purchase that food, for Mainers facing hunger.
Through the Mainers Feeding Mainers program, Good Shepherd Food Bank makes bulk purchases from local farmers and food producers and distributes these nutritious, local foods to food pantries, meal sites and directly to families facing hunger. In addition, the food bank’s farm partners often donate surplus food.
In 2014, the food bank purchased 1,048,000 pounds of Maine-grown food to help fight hunger. In turn, farmers donated an additional 1,003,000 pounds, meaning in total, Good Shepherd provided more than 2 million pounds of nutritious, local foods to its partner agencies and directly to Mainers in need.
“Fresh, nutritious foods are often the most difficult items for struggling families to access and afford, and this can have serious health consequences,” said Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank. “The Mainers Feeding Mainers program is an important part of the food bank’s overall strategy, because it enables us to make sure Maine families, no matter what their income or circumstances, have access to the nutritious food they need to live healthy lives. And the funding feeds right back into Maine’s local agricultural economy, so it’s really a win-win.”
Fifteen percent of Maine households face hunger, according to USDA statistics. It is estimated that one in four Maine children does not get the nutritious food they need to grow and thrive. Good Shepherd Food Bank is committed to providing nutritious food for Mainers facing hunger through its network of partner hunger relief agencies across Maine.
The Food Bank’s Harvest Celebration Luncheon was sponsored by Farm Credit East.
For a full list of the food bank’s farm partners, visit the Mainers Feeding Mainers page at www.gsfb.org.