BREWER, Maine — Thanksgiving is an important holiday for many families. And to help celebrate the occasion, a nonprofit in Brewer, Food and Medicine, fundraises every year in an effort to help families in need all throughout Maine have a Thanksgiving dinner.
Their yearly Solidarity Harvest baskets include produce purchased from local farms in Maine. This year more than $70,000 was used to buy food from local farmers, growers, dairy farms, supermarkets, and orchards.
Participants will discuss the 19th annual Solidarity Harvest, which will distribute nearly $100,000 of mostly locally sourced food to 1,500 families experiencing hard times. This massive effort is powered by hundreds of volunteers and partners with over 200 organizations, farms, unions, and businesses to accomplish this effort.
The Solidarity Harvest boxes include potatoes, carrots, onions, turnips, beets, cranberries, butter, apples, garlic, squash, cider, bread, and a recipe book. All of these products were purchased from local farmers thanks to donations from Maine unions, businesses, and organizations.
On Wednesday morning, players from the University of Maine Women's Soccer team helped assemble and load boxes.
Box recipients choose between a turkey or a $10 gift card.
"This is all about solidarity and not charity. The Eastern Maine Labor Council is made up of 35 affiliates and 5,000 members in the area. And this year we've increased from 1,400 to 1,500 baskets that will feed approximately 10 people per basket," Andrew Brogden, treasurer at EMLC, said.
"Penquis is bringing 1,300 turkeys, and that's really a statement on how our community can align and partner and actually just keep people fed and warm and happy for this Thanksgiving holiday," Kara Hay, Penquis CEO, said.
The recipients of the 1,500 boxes have already been selected. Food and Medicine works closely with more than 100 partners that know of families who will benefit from the boxes.