PORTLAND, Maine — Editor's note: The video above aired May 5, 2022.
MaineHealth announced Wednesday that it plans to open a food bank at the Congress Street property formerly occupied by a Greyhound bus station.
MaineHealth bought the building at 950 Congress St. in 2020 and has received permits from the city to renovate the building, the organization said in a release.
Construction is expected to begin in June, with plans for the food bank to open by early fall, Maine Health said in a release. Initially, it will be available to MaineHealth patients, but officials hope to expand to serve more of the community.
The property is adjacent to a nearly $600 million Maine Medical Center expansion that will eventually include a new, 265,000-square-foot Malone Family Tower for cardiovascular services on Congress Street near the future food pantry.
Funding for the pantry project includes a $100,000 donation from former Maine Speaker of the House and U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon and $200,000 from Maine Health.
“Health and hunger are closely connected, and we know our communities alone can’t fill the needs associated with food insecurity,” said Dora Anne Mills, MaineHealth’s chief health improvement officer. “Our Community Health Needs Assessments have identified food insecurity as the number one priority amongst social determinants of health. The food pantries are a part of our services as a health care organization, and a natural part of our continuum of care. We also believe it is necessary for us to collaborate with community partners to support and supplement existing work.”
The pantry will be the third opened by MaineHealth following others opened at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington and Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway in 2021.