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Saco school receives $250K donation to help fight food insecurity in Maine

The Ecology School in Saco grows 6,000 pounds of produce each year. One-third is donated to local food banks.

SACO, Maine — The Ecology School in Saco has received a generous donation of $250,000 from Hannaford Supermarkets to teach students and adults how to grow their own food and to help fight hunger in Maine.

The Ecology School is a non-profit organization that provides educational programs on science, food, and the environment to more than 3,000 students from across the Northeast each year. 

The school offers hands-on educational opportunities, including two-hour food systems lessons in the field and community-style meals, which teach students about the energy that goes into making the food on their plates.

The donation from Hannaford will help the Ecology School expand its mission and bring educational gardens to more locations. 

"With the help of this donation, we can continue growing our produce and expand our work with local food banks in the area to donate about one-third of that produce to local food banks," Leanna Bonds, director of advancement and community partnerships at the Ecology School, said. 

According to Feeding America, more than 100,000 people in Maine are facing hunger, and one in seven children goes hungry. 

The donation from Hannaford will help the Ecology School provide fresh produce to local food banks, which is instrumental in meeting the needs of those who are facing food insecurity.

"Being able to have fresh produce from those partners we've heard is instrumental and we’d love to continue working with them to meet their needs, Bonds said.

Ericka Dodge, the director of external communication at Hannaford explained, "They bring in kids and students and adults to learn in a very hands-on opportunity we know they are making sure there is a next generation of climate championship that understands where their food comes from and that is important to us at Hannaford."

"We are proud to support the Ecology School and help make a difference in the lives of those who are facing hunger in Maine," Dodge added. 

With the help of a $250,000 donation, the partnership is helping put an end to food insecurity across Maine, one food bank at a time.

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