The Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program has selected Hannah Chatalbash, who has been with the organization for over a decade, as its next executive director.

“I’ve always been really passionate about this cause and this mission,” said Chatalbash, who most recently was deputy director. “Ten years has flown by.”

The program’s services include grocery distribution on-site, at local schools and at satellite locations across the Midcoast; a food pantry available to the public; and a soup kitchen that serves made-to-go-meals.

“Hunger prevention is one of the most important and essential things,” Chatalbash said. Offering people a place to share in meals and food is not just about meeting a need, but also about bringing people together, she said. “We celebrate around meals. It builds community.”

Over the last three years, since the start of the COVID pandemic, food insecurity and need for services have skyrocketed and MCHPP has been forced to rapidly expand its reach and programming, she said.

Going forward, she’s prioritizing “ensuring the financial health and viability of the organization and making sure we’re as effective as we can possibly be.”


“As economic situations change, more people come to MCHPP. As the COVID safety nets have been rolled back, we see waves of clients coming in, and asylum seekers coming into Brunswick and accessing services,” she said.

According to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service, 14.4% of Maine households are food insecure, and the state ranks ninth in the nation for food insecurity.

Last year, MCHPP served 1.4 million meals and processed 1.5 million pounds of food. The program began serving only Brunswick in 1983 and now operates in six counties. Last year, they opened a new warehouse and administrative facility to increase capacity.

Development Director Alyssa Schoppee said Chatalbash is the right person to lead the agency forward.

“I’ve worked really closely with Hannah over the last three years and she’s done an amazing job helping our program staff and guests operate through a really challenging time that was the pandemic,” Schoppee said. “I’m excited to see how we can continue to grow now that we’ve spent time building those behind-the-scenes supports in different departments that are needed.”

Chatalbash was born and raised in Brunswick, and is a licensed social worker. She will officially begin her duties as executive director next month, succeeding Karen Parker, who earlier this year announced her intent to retire at the end of 2023.

In a prepared statement, Parker said that “Hannah has been a valuable team member at MCHPP for over 10 years. She has exhibited the passion, knowledge and commitment needed to lead this organization into the future.”

MCHPP is currently gearing up for Harvest Week Sept. 25-30, which Schoppee describes as “a big fundraising and outreach opportunity” as well as a time to “celebrate the harvest season of Maine, and to enjoy the bounty the summer craziness has brought at the farms we work with.” Events include an open house at the community kitchen, shared meals, story hours to help kids learn about food insecurity and a variety of other activities. For more information, go to

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