Hunger is an ever-changing reality in our community and in virtually every other. As a result, organizations such as Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program are continually adapting to serve the needs most essential to our neighbors. Over the course of 2018, this adaptive process has been as active as ever.  

Now operating for 35 years, MCHPP has grown into a regional agency serving the greater Midcoast Maine area. We are currently the largest food security agency in the midcoast in terms of clients served, meals distributed, and volunteer hours facilitated. Last year, we distributed over 350,000 meals, saving our clients an estimated $1.2 million dollars through food programming. This is money that can instead be spent on other basic needs such as housing, heat, transportation, childcare, school supplies, medication, or clothing.

The last three months (October, November, December) have been the busiest our food pantry has seen in the eleven years since the organization began tracking numbers. In November, for example, the food pantry served over 870 families.This means that either more folks are finding our services accessible, or more likely, more households are struggling to stock their shelves with food. For us, a busier pantry has come along with other evolutions this year.

New staff have filtered into the organization over the course of the year, making it feasible for MCHPP to focus on strategic goals that prioritize breadth of service. For instance:
The backpack program has expanded its reach by partnering with schools in Richmond and Freeport to provide more food resources to young students who have scarce access to food over the weekend. Additionally, we developed a pilot version of the program that operates a full pantry at certain schools, offering more choice to kids with reduced stigma. 

In July, we rolled out a new volunteer recognition program which highlights the work volunteers do to help feed our hungry neighbors. Over the course of the year, volunteers helped to provide over 209,000 meals to clients.  

We spent the fall analyzing the way we operate the Soup Kitchen and our Mobile Pantries, both of which will see improvements in the coming year as a result of work done in 2018. 

Significant time was spent revamping our organizational system in the Food Bank, allowing our organization to store more food, meaning more robust services for our guests. 

The fall of 2018 was also an important time for the administrative development of our Pantry to Pantry program, which delivers groceries to homebound folks bi-weekly. As a result of time spent this fall, we will be able to offer a wider variety of food and expand the program to more clients in the near future. 

If you are spurred to action, please partner with us! We are always looking for donors of funds, food, and time. You can visit our website at www.mchpp.org or give us a call at 207-725-2716 to learn more. 

Giving Voice is a weekly collaboration among four local non-profit service agencies to share information and stories about their work in the community. 

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