September is Hunger Action Month and a good time for all of us to remember those in need. For many Mainers, this is a difficult time of year and, regrettably, too many residents have to eat less or even skip entire meals because they don’t have enough money for food.

Maine has the fourth highest rate of hunger in the nation and the highest in New England, with over 200,000 individuals experiencing what is known as food insecurity. The truth is that one person going hungry in Maine is one person too many.

Together, we can make a big difference by donating nonperishable items to local food pantries, which will help many of our friends and neighbors.

In addition, we can help raise awareness about SNAP, otherwise known as the Food Supplement Program. SNAP is one of the country’s most effective tools to address hunger and poverty.

In 2011, SNAP kept 4.7 million people out of poverty, including 2.1 million children. Here in Maine, 70 percent of older seniors who are eligible for SNAP are not enrolled, which likely means there are many individuals who are currently unaware of the program.

SNAP is an excellent resource for families and individuals who struggle to put food on the table. If you think you know someone who might be eligible, they can go to or call 1-800-442-6003 to connect with their local Department of Health and Human Services office.

To learn more about what you can do to end hunger for Mainers 50 and older, go to By taking action now, we can make a difference to at-risk Mainers in the months ahead.

Jane Magnus

communications volunteer, AARP Maine