Hunger relief agency forms partnership with Good Shepherd Food Bank

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AUBURN — By partnering with Good Shepherd Food Bank and the USDA for food donations and food distribution services, Spectrum Generations (Central Maine’s Area Agency on Aging) is better able to provide vital supplemental nutrition to help build a healthy foundation for at-risk seniors across central Maine.

In 2011, Spectrum Generations launched a new senior nutrition initiative in a mission to end senior hunger called We Sustain Maine, a plan to end senior hunger and support Maine agriculture by incorporating food products from local farmers into senior nutrition programs.

Good Shepherd has made it possible for Spectrum Generations to provide more fresh Maine foods to Meals on Wheels and community dining consumers by providing connections to farmers and producers across the state. These connections give Spectrum Generations the opportunity to network directly with the farmers.

Spectrum Generations also works with Good Shepherd to periodically process their surplus of raw produce, turning it into ready-to-eat products. This allows Good Shepherd to buy more Maine food products at peak season, which in turn supports more Maine farms. When needed, Spectrum Generations recruits and engages food service volunteers to wash, stem, quarter, blanch, flash freeze and package thousands of pounds of freshly picked produce such as zucchini , corn, tomatoes, to be used by school systems.

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This gives Spectrum Generations the opportunity to engage volunteers in new ways, increasing retention and allows us to recruit new volunteers passionate about the local food movement.

Spectrum Generations also participates in the USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), known as “senior brown bags.” These bags contain 30 pounds of free food such as pasta, cereal, tuna and peanut butter. While these food packages do not provide a complete diet, they are a good source of nutrition.

Good Shepherd prepares and distributes the food bags and Spectrum Generations distributes an average of 700 senior brown bags each month to low-income adults age 60 and over in central Maine through community centers.

The savings that Spectrum Generations achieves through partnering with Good Shepherd and shopping at their facility has made a significant impact on Spectrum Generations bottom line and meal costs low, allowing delivery of more meals over the course of year.

For more information, call 1-800-639-1553 or visit www.spectrumgenerations.org.

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