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New program feeds people in need and keeps restaurants afloat during coronavirus

'Cooking for Community' is providing free meals and helping hard-hit restaurants.

PORTLAND, Maine — A new pilot program kicked off this week aimed at helping feed the most vulnerable and give a vibrant food scene in Portland a fighting chance to come back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the 'Cooking for Community' campaign, hundreds of free meals are being delivered to Mainers who are struggling during the crisis. They are being prepared in two restaurants in Portland's West End: Chaval and Little Giant. 

The program has already raised $75,000.

The money is being used to pay local restaurants to cook pre-packaged meals which are being distributed to local social service organizations including Preble Street, Amistad, and Wayside.

Part of the mission is to help local restaurants bring back some employees and sustain their operations until they are allowed to fully open up again. 

"To keep the lights on and to keep it all breathing so that when things go back to normal we can hit the go switch," Ellie Linen Low, organizer of Cooking for Community, said.

Organizers hope to expand the program as they are getting numerous requests from restaurants, local food producers and social service agencies.

For more information, click here or visit the Cooking for Community Facebook page. You can also email info@cookingforcommunity.org for more information. 

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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