Good Shepherd Food Bank will relocate its Portland distribution center to Biddeford to improve service to hunger relief agencies in southern Maine, the Auburn-based food bank announced Monday.

The new Biddeford distribution center on Arctic Circle, scheduled to open July 2, is close to both Route 1 and the Maine Turnpike. Good Shepherd also has distribution centers in Auburn and Brewer.

In the past, representatives of York County hunger relief programs had to drive up to 50 miles to reach the Good Shepherd Food Bank distribution center in Portland.

York County has the second highest number of households facing hunger in Maine. Nearly 26,000 people – including 8,400 children – in the county do not receive enough nutritious food to live a healthy life, according to the food bank. Cumberland County has the highest number of households facing food insecurity.

“When we took a careful look at our operations across the state and the need that exists in communities across Maine, we knew what we had to do,” said Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank, in a press release. “Our goal is to provide the most nutritious food we can in an equitable way across all 16 counties.”

Food programs in Cumberland County can pick up food from Good Shepherd in Biddeford or Auburn, or place orders online to be delivered to Wayside Food Programs in Portland.

Good Shepherd, Maine’s only statewide food bank, distributes donated and purchased food to 600 local partner agencies.