BREWER, Maine — Solidarity Harvest is organized every year by Food and Medicine. Thanks to the effort of over 150 unions, organizations, agencies, and farmers locally sourced bags are distributed before Thanksgiving to families in need.
Solidarity Harvest started in 2003 when the Eastern Fine Paper Mill closed in Brewer, leaving plenty of families without jobs and without a Thanksgiving dinner.
"…It laid off about 120 people and we decided to do some support for them...and that was through a Thanksgiving meal,” said Jack McKay, the Director at Food and Medicine.
This is the 17th year that Solidarity Harvest takes place and this year $55,000 is being used to purchase from over 40 different local farmers and food producers.
This year 1,300 families are going to receive a Thanksgiving bag. Each one includes beets, carrots, onions, garlic, potatoes, turnips, squash, cranberries garlic, rolls, pumpkin bread, stuffing, cider and of course…a turkey!
All of the items in the bags are locally sourced and purchased from over 40 different farms in Maine.
Maine ranks ninth in the nation and first in New England in food insecurity, according to the USDA.
“Try to have a low paying job, or being on a fixed income and trying to feed your family nutricious food..nearly impossible,” said Food and Medicine board member Mary-Ann Perry.
According to Jack McKay, the Director of Food and Medicine, 7 thousand children are food insecure just in Penobscot County.
John Bunker got a food basket in years past.
"It's a good blessing to get a meal.. to get a basket from this organization," said Bunker.
This year Penquis will be donating the turkeys that the Thanksgiving bag includes.
"And when I say people who are struggling, I think it's important to name those people...right? It's our friends..it's our neighbors.. it's our community members, said Penquis CEO, Kara Hay.
This program doesn't ask for an application. Organizers say anyone who falls on hard times deserves a little help.
NEWS CENTER Maine STORIES