AUGUSTA — Hundreds of people walked away from the Food Mobile on Friday carrying bags laden with chicken thighs, fresh corn, tomatoes, apples, rolls and even cupcakes and cookies.

The Augusta Food Bank brings Good Shepherd Food-Bank’s Food Mobile to town once or twice per year. On Friday, it set up across the street from the Augusta City Center in a former supermarket parking lot, expecting to distribute some 9,000 pounds of food to 250 to 300 households.

“It provides an additional source for families and individuals in the area in need,” Augusta Food Bank Executive Director Abigail Perry said.

“We can provide a week’s worth of food at the food bank, and this is just some extra help.”

The Food Mobile is designed to be a barrier-free method of distributing food. There were no limitations on residency, and Perry said she spoke to a family from Waterville who needed the extra food badly enough to make the trip to Augusta.

Michelle Lang, 36, of Augusta picked up food for herself and her father, who recently broke his back.


She said she relies on the Augusta Food Bank because her Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, commonly called food stamps, don’t stretch far enough.

“It helps out with getting things that I need,” Lang said. “It helps fill the void that the food stamps don’t give.”

Camille Desoto, 52, of Augusta said she’s dealing with a different kind of gap – the one she’s discovered exists in the transition from assistance programs to self-reliance.

Desoto said she became homeless after getting divorced. She received food stamps for a period, but she said she hasn’t been able to requalify.

“I’m here today because I won’t make it without supplemental food,” she said. “I’m one of the people who slips through the cracks, and I’m trying to make it.”

Many Maine families are about to enter a hungry season. When schools let out in the next two weeks, thousands of children who eat free or reduced-price meals at school will have to get breakfast and lunch elsewhere.

Perry said there are families out there that can handle providing dinner for everyone, but the daytime meals break the budget. For three children, breakfast and lunch add up to 30 additional meals per week.

Perry said the food bank gets busier in the summer, and it starts giving out Kids Packs – an additional bag of food for each school-age child whose family goes to the food bank. The packs are available in June, July, August and school vacation periods in December, February and April.

The Augusta Food Bank has been serving 370 to 400 households in recent months, with people coming in from as many as 20 surrounding communities.

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