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Santa Claus may have come and gone, but the holiday spirit should stay year-round

Food pantries, non-profits, and other organizations across the state still need volunteers and donations after the holiday season. Fighting hunger is a 365-day job.

MAINE, Maine — The presents were opened, the Christmas dinner was eaten, and the stress, shopping, and decorating have ended. 

The Christmas season is a time of year when many Mainers do the right thing and give back to those in need. Whether it's donating food to a food pantry or donating coats and toys for kids.

Organizations like the Good Shepherd Food Bank count on those donations not just during the holidays, but year-round.

Lyndon Hopkins is the Hampden Distribution Center Manager for the food bank. He sees a dropoff in food donations after the 25th of December. 

“After the holidays it’s a downturn both in volunteering and donations, hunger is a problem 365 days a year," Hopkins said. 

One in five Mainers suffers from food insecurity. Hopkins knows how hard the fight is to change that statistic.

“We’re one of the hungriest states in the nation so it takes a lot of volunteers. (Hunger) is an ongoing thing so any kind of donations is fantastic throughout the year," he added.

Credit: NCM

In Bangor, the American Red Cross has had quite the stressful holiday week. 20 people have lost their homes due to fires and the Red Cross is doing all they can to help. 

Caroline King is the Executive Director of the Northern and Eastern Maine Red Cross. She was asked if volunteer numbers and donations will slow down after the holidays. 

“We hope not, of course, it's been a busy time for us, we’ve helped 20 people who’ve lost their home to fires," King said.

Credit: NCM

King said the Red Cross is always looking for monetary donations. Every $5 donated is enough for a blanket, $45 is enough for infant supplies, and $600 is the full cost to support a family impacted by a home fire. 

Down the road, the Ronald McDonald House is expanding. The organization has added a family room for patients receiving care at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center. 

The Ronald McDonald House in Portland is also expanding, by 15 rooms. Whitney Linscott is the House Manager at the house in Bangor, she said the community will play a big role with these expansions.

“That’s a huge project for us to undertake and we appreciate any help the community is able to offer towards that," Linscott said. 

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Organizations like the Red Cross, Good Shepherd Food Bank, and The Ronald McDonald House, count on donations on volunteers all year, not just when Mainers are filled with holiday spirit.

To find out where and how to donate or volunteer at these organizations, their websites are below:

Find out how you can get involved with Good Shepherd's mission to end hunger in Maine, whether by donating, volunteering, and/or organizing a food drive.
Your gift makes it possible to keep families close to their seriously ill children at our Ronald McDonald Houses in Bangor and Portland. To donate today, please fill out the secure form below. Honor a friend, family member or special occasion with a donation in their name.
The American Red Cross Maine Chapter is a non-profit humanitarian organization that provides disaster relief and helps people during disasters.