EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Kimberly Gates at the Bath Area Food Bank, in this 2016 file photo. “We lost a lot (from the storm). We lost all of our dairy, all of our eggs. We do have some frozen meats (and non-perishables).”

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Kimberly Gates at the Bath Area Food Bank, in this 2016 file photo. “We lost a lot (from the storm). We lost all of our dairy, all of our eggs. We do have some frozen meats (and non-perishables).”

BATH

Despite last-minute intervention from the Bath Fire Department, the Bath Area Food Bank said Monday that the continued power outage has resulted in further losses of frozen food.

“We lost a lot,” said Executive Director Kimberly Gates. “We lost all of our dairy, all of our eggs. We do have some frozen meats (and non-perishables).”

Now, the food bank wants to raise $10,000 to cover the losses. In addition to seeking donations and support from the community, the food bank will be hosting its annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. Starting in Library Park, participants will trot in a large circle through the downtown.

Registration is $25 per person, with the proceeds helping to replenish the food bank’s inventories.

“All the funds from that will go toward making up the loss from this,” Gates said.

Gates added that the food bank is still looking for a sponsor for the Turkey Trot. The food bank will also be hosting a food drive on Nov. 18-19.

The food bank lost power Oct. 30 as a tropical storm knocked out power across Maine. Gates said that the bank has 19 freezers and refrigerators that need power to maintain temperature. Without power, the food in the freezers has to be thrown out after 48 hours.

At the last minute, literally

47 hours after the power went out, the Bath Fire Department swooped in to the rescue on Wednesday morning. Using their ladder truck as a massive generator, the fire department was able to lower the temperatures of the remaining freezers back to zero degrees.

“The fire department literally rescued us in the ninth hour,” said Gates.

With the hope that power would be restored shortly, the staff of the food bank alternated a household generator between the remaining freezers to maintain temperature — but they didn’t realize just how long they would be without power. Power was only restored Sunday evening, just shy of a week after they initially lost power.

“We certainly didn’t expect the power to be off for an additional five more days,” said Gates. “We were shuffling extension cords to try to get as many as we could, but we just couldn’t keep up with all the freezers that we had with the generator that we had.”

Ultimately, Gates said that they were only able to save seven freezers. Still, she said that she was grateful that with the help of the fire department, the donated generator and dedication from the staff, they still had some food to give out this week.

“We know we’re going to be inundated tomorrow. And without the food that we did save, we wouldn’t be able to feed the people this week,” said Gates, noting that she’s received a number of calls inquiring about getting food.

But with Thanksgiving just around the corner, Gates said it’s vital for them to replenish their stocks for the holiday season. Food donations are accepted, although cash donations are preferred since the food bank can purchase food at a discount, and make sure that it is purchasing the food that people want and need.

The food bank will still be handing out Thanksgiving baskets on Nov. 21 ahead of the holiday, which puts an additional stress on the nonprofit’s stores.

“Hell or high water, we’ll make sure that we have the Thanksgiving baskets we need for the 21st,” said Gates. “The thing is, I’m dipping into inventory that I should be giving out to my families in December and January.”

Turkey Trot

BATH AREA FOOD Bank will be hosting its annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. The fee is $25 per person.


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