SOUTH PORTLAND — Scarborough-based Hannaford Supermarkets announced last week a donation of $35,000 to the Maine Community College System’s food pantries, including $4,800 earmarked for Southern Maine Community College. According to research conducted with Preble Street, the Portland-based organization that provides, food, shelter and housing, about 40% of students at Maine’s seven community colleges could be described as food insecure.

Christina LeBel, who manages the pantry at the South Portland campus, said the pantry is open to students and faculty, who only need to provide a college ID to use it. Over the last two weeks alone, she said, an estimated 100-125 people visited the pantry to collect food and personal hygiene products such as shampoo and sanitary items.

“They’re allowed to take as many bags as they need,” she said. “There’s no limit.”

The pantry, LeBel said, has been available for the past seven years, and just recently moved to a new location on campus at 5 Surfsite Road, just off the primary parking lot and a block from the center of campus.

She said all of the products in the pantry are provided or paid for by grants, school funding and donations from companies such as Hannaford and organizations such as the Good Shepherd Food Bank and the Locker Project, an organization that works to provide food for students at all grade levels.

“Just about everything on my shelf right now has been donated by the community,” she said.

Hannaford is providing a new freezer valued at $800 to the college, along with $4,000 in products to stock the South Portland campus’ pantry. SMCC Spokesman Clarke Canfield said the college’s Brunswick campus has a pantry too, but it has been closed since the pandemic broke out and will not be receiving any donations.

Hannaford is partnering with the Good Shepherd Food Bank to provide logistics, including, according to the company, food safety training and inspections.

“By removing barriers and bringing food right to where people already are and through folks they already trust is such a win-win,” said Shannon Coffin, vice president of Community Partnerships at Good Shepherd Food Bank.

Sean Murphy 780-9094

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