Kate Cutko of Bowdoinham created a 2021 Bowdoinham farmers calendar recognizing them as the town’s citizens of the year. All profits from calendars sales are going to the Bowdoinham Food Pantry. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

BOWDOINHAM — Bowdoinham’s farmers may have never looked better than they do featured in a special calendar being sold to help the hungry.

The calendars promote Bowdoinham’s farming community and were paid for through the town’s community development funds, allowing all profits to go to the Bowdoinham Food Pantry. They sell for $10 each and are available at Six River Farm, the town office and library. After two weeks, most of the 250 calendars printed have already been sold.

A stack of Bowdoinham Farmers Citizens of the Year calendars awaits buyers at the Bowdoinham town office Wednesday. Darcie Moore / The Times Record

Town Librarian Kate Cutko, who thought up the calendar, said local pantries are stretched thin.

“They are providing so many more meals in our town than they ever have before and we wanted to support that effort,” Cutko said.

Jenn Dwinal, the program coordinator for the Bowdoinham Food Pantry, said she has been an increased need during the pandemic. The pantry was serving between 10 and 15 households in March and is now serving between 18 to 20 households. The pantry has created a drive-up system so clients don’t have to go inside the pantry to get food.

Located at 9 Main St. at the far end of the building, the food pantry is open every Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. Dwinal said the pantry posts what it needs on its Facebook page and has kept up with the demand thanks to donations.

About a month ago the pantry needed vegetables, “and the chair of the (Bowdoinham Food Pantry) board made a couple of phone calls and we had a few hundred pounds of vegetables the next day, so the farmers in Bowdoinham are amazing,” Dwinal said. “I feel like Bowdoinham is pretty lucky.”

According to Feeding America, a national hunger-relief organization, there are 173,080 people in Maine struggling with hunger, of which 47,460 are children. Feeding America’s food insecurity study shows that food insecurity levels in Maine could increase by as much as 40% in 2020 due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused, among other problems, a huge increase in unemployment, according to Maine’s Good Shepherd Food Bank.

“There are obviously people struggling with food insecurity in all of our communities,” said Nate Drummond of Six River Farm. “I think in a town like Bowdoinham it is important to have a food bank in place because not everyone can reach or access a large organization like Mid Coast Hunger Prevention in Brunswick.”

Bowdoinham Food Pantry volunteer Calie Ramisch places potatoes in bags Wednesday before the pantry opened for its weekly distribution Wednesday afternoon. Contributed photo

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