Maine has the highest rate of food insecurity in New England. Almost 167,000 Mainers each year are forced to make a choice between food and other crucial needs, like medicine, electricity or childcare. This Hunger Action Month, food banks and other organizations around the country are spreading the word in hopes of ending the impossible choices of hunger.

Hunger Action Month was founded by Feeding America in 2008 and has become an annual campaign. Each September, hunger prevention groups work to raise awareness and inspire action in their communities. Together, this translates to thousands of actions – from donating to volunteering to a simple share on social media – all of which move the needle in the right direction.

Hunger often exists right under our noses, yet it’s easy to miss. Using data from Good Shepherd Food Bank, Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program estimates that across our six-county service area the average rate of food insecurity in 2021 is 12.8%. Among children that rate rises to an astounding 19.6%, or nearly 1 out of every 5 children. These substantial increases from prior years demonstrate the long-term impacts and slow recovery the COVID-19 pandemic has created for many. In 2020, more than 57% of Maine households were eligible for SNAP benefits. For many, our services are more important now than ever before.

The good news is we can all take actions, whether small or large, that help make positive changes in our community. Here at Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, staff are busy expanding current services and implementing creative new ways to get food to individuals and families who need it, when and where they need it. There are ways that you can help as well:

Donate to a local hunger relief agency;

Volunteer at a food bank or pantry;

Advocate for change by writing to your elected officials;

Learn more about hunger near you and SHARE that knowledge.

For anyone experiencing the impossible choices of hunger, Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program is here to provide access to healthy food where and when it’s needed. Services include prepared meals to go and grocery distribution on-site, at local schools, and at satellite locations in Harpswell, Bowdoin and Lisbon Falls. The Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program food pantry — located at 12 Tenney Way, Brunswick — is open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday evenings 4-6 p.m.; and Saturdays from noon to 3 p.m. The Soup Kitchen serves freshly made to-go meals on Mondays–Fridays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Saturdays noon to 1:30 pm.

For more information on accessing our programs, supporting our work, and the precautions we are taking to maintain the health and safety of our community please visit us at: www.mchpp.org.

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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