MAINE, USA — Oakhurst on Monday announced a donation of more than $650,000 to Good Shepherd Food Bank to help fight food insecurity in Maine.
Between 2018 and 2020, 11.4% of Maine households were food insecure, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Household Food Security report.
Good Shepherd estimates that more than 182,000 Mainers are experiencing hunger including as many as 50,000 children.
Maine also ranks fifth in the nation for very low food insecurity, a more severe range of food insecurity that involves reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns.
Oakhurst plans to donate $479,000 in food and another $200,000 in funding over the next four years as part of Good Shepherd's Campaign to End Hunger.
Oakhurst President John Bennett said Mainers can't be successful members of communities without eating healthy food each day.
"Whether it's a student or an employee, or whoever it is, without nutrition or without enough food to eat, everything else takes second place. Feeding the hungry and advocating for programs which end that need, is really a top priority for us," Bennett said.
"At Oakhurst, we believe that ‘Giving Goodness’ is a team effort, and we’re proud to join the Good Shepherd Food Bank team in its mission to end hunger in our great state," he said.
Good Shepherd Food Bank President Kristen Miale said Maine continues to see a rise in the number of families in need of healthy meals.
"They tend to be more frontline workers, they don't always have secure access to healthcare, they tend to be in more vulnerable home situations, so the pandemic ... while many families are seeing kind of the other side of the pandemic, what we are seeing is that the most marginalized communities ... they are not beginning to see the end of the pandemic, and so they definitely still need our support," Miale said.
“Since the start of the pandemic, Maine has seen a dramatic increase in families and individuals who need help from our partner food pantries to ensure healthy food is on their tables,” Miale said. “It is more important than ever to help Mainers get the food they need to thrive, and we are grateful Oakhurst is joining us in our mission to end hunger in the state with this generous cash and nutritious product donation. In the last year, many of our partners reported increased visits from families who had never experienced food insecurity. No community in our state is immune.”
The organization has raised nearly $165 million toward a $250 million campaign goal to date.
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