YORK COUNTY — Many things have changed since the forerunner to the Journal Tribune newspaper was launched in 1880 in Biddeford, but one thing has remained constant through the years, and that is that those who work for the paper care deeply about issues affecting the community.

In the past 15 years, food insecurity has become one of the most important problems facing area residents and every single day, scores of volunteers are doing what they can to make sure neighbors and members of the community are not going without a decent meal.

In an effort to give back this holiday season, the Journal Tribune is hosting a food drive for the local area food pantries. Through Dec. 15, the newspaper will serve as an official drop-off site for food pantries in York County.

Journal Tribune Publisher Devin Hamilton said the goal for the food drive is to collect 100 pounds of food to help them meet the demand.

Hamilton said local food pantries have immense needs, especially at this time of the year.

“We are asking our readers to drop off canned goods or other nonperishable food items to our office at 457 Alfred St. in Biddeford during regular business hours,” Hamilton said. “We appreciate all of our readers for helping us give back to those most in need right here in our community.”

He said that Journal Tribune employees have covered a number of stories about food pantries in York County throughout the year and believe the work the organizations are doing is significant in addressing the problem.

“The staff of the Journal Tribune is deeply dedicated to this community,” Hamilton said. “We know that the food we collect will help families and those less fortunate during the holiday season. The newspaper is a vaulable partner to the community and this is wonderful example of how much we care about everyone living in our area.”

A person is considered food insecure if they lack access to enough food to ensure adequate nutrition and the USDA estimates that 16.4  percent of Maine households, or more than 200,000 individuals, are food insecure. 

Overall, Maine ranks ninth in the nation and first among all New England states for food insecurity.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s 2016 national survey, some 41.2 million people lived in a food-insecure households last year alone.

That translates to 28.3 million adults and 12.9 million children living in households where, at some point during the year, one or more members did not not have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to lead an active, healthy life.

The survey reported that within those households, individuals feel the impact of food insecurity in many different ways; parents skip a meal to make sure their children have enough to eat, food is supplemented through governmental and non-governmental assistance, or families rely on basic and limited diets.

Canned and packaged food may be dropped off at the newspaper offices during regular business hours. but Hamilton said that the newspaper also suggests that if readers are unable to bring food to the paper, that they make donations to food banks near where they live.

“We also encourage them to make financial donations to local food banks,” he said.

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 ext. 326 or by email at [email protected]

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