HAMPDEN (NEWS CENTER Maine) – The Good Shepherd Food Bank is launching its latest effort to provide healthier meals to Mainers in need in the northern half of the state.

The organization is undergoing a massive renovation at its facility in Hampden to enable it to better serve more than 74,000 people in central, northern and eastern Maine—the regions with the most need and most health concerns related to food insecurity.

The nine-month effort will primarily focus on expanding warehouse space and adding more refrigeration units to store more fresh perishable food.

"The addition of the cold storage will allow us to source more nutritious food and that food we are currently already sourcing from Maine farmers, seafood, and dairymen across the state,” said Melissa Huston with the Good Shepherd Food Bank. "With the addition of the cold storage, and the ability to regulate the temperature and humidity, we will be able to extend the shelf life of a lot of that produce that we've been getting in.”

The expansion will also allow the organization to grow its Mainers Feeding Mainers initiative in which it purchases locally grown food from Maine farmers.

Huston said the organization hopes to grow that program to include more than 80 farmers across the state.

"This really helps us move our initiatives forward and helps us distribute as efficiently and as equitably as we can across the state,”

For more information on the Good Shepherd Food Bank and how you can help the more than 200,000 people who are food insecure in Maine visit FeedMaine.com.