The Bath Area Family YMCA is expanding its free summer food program, now in its fourth year, to 16 locations in Bath and Brunswick.

This week, the Bath Area Family YMCA starts delivering free meals to children and teens in the community, a service that continues through Aug. 23. This year, the summer food program is expanding to include routes in Brunswick and take over areas previously serviced by Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. The summer food program now has 16 locations, up from 13 last year, according to a YMCA news release.

“I can’t imagine growing up as a child not knowing where my next meal is going to come from,” said John MacGregor, a Bath resident and long-time YMCA volunteer with the summer food program. “I’m glad to be part of this important service for the kids in our community.”

Bath Area YMCA members and volunteers coordinate loading the food into the Veggie Van for the summer food program. Courtesy of the Bath Area YMCA

The YMCA’s Veggie Van makes free food deliveries possible and launched during the summer of 2020, transporting hundreds of meals to children in the Regional School Unit 1 and West Bath school districts to meet the increased community needs.

Approximately 1 in 5 children faces hunger in Maine, which is about 45,790 children, with the average cost of a meal in the state being $4.19, according to the nonprofit charity Feeding America. When the school year ends, the children lose access to the free breakfasts and lunches provided by Maine schools, which puts a strain on families struggling to make ends meet and facing the rising cost of groceries.

The Brunswick-area Veggie Van route is available Monday through Friday, with the route beginning at Bay Bridge Estates at 10:35 a.m., Perryman Village at 11 a.m., Pathways Merrymeeting at 11:25 a.m., The Landing YMCA at 11:35 a.m., Seeds of Independence at 11:50 a.m. and wrapping up at the Curtis Memorial Library at 12:10 p.m.

The Bath Veggie Van is available Monday through Friday and its route begins at Sea Cliff Apartments at 10:20 a.m., Academy Green at 10:35 a.m., Shaw St. at 10:55 a.m., Middle St. at 11:15 a.m., Maritime Apartments at 11:30 a.m., Denny and Bowman at 11:55 a.m., Varnum Field at 12:15 p.m., Oak Grove Apartments at 12:30 p.m., Moorings at 12:50 p.m., and ends at Atlantic Townhouse at 1:05 p.m.

Grab-and-go meals are on a first-come, first-served basis.

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