On Nov. 13, Hannaford Supermarkets publicly announced a $1 million donation towards ending childhood hunger, which will affect 5 of the states in the Northeast region of the U.S., including Maine.
Hannaford Supermarkets’ headquarters are located in Scarborough. They have 182 locations employing over 26,000 people in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont.
The generous donation was geared toward supporting “Fuel Kids at School,” a new program targeting public schools, and ensuring children have access to fresh and healthy food.
When speaking on behalf of the donation and the “Fuel Kids at School” program, the president of Hannaford Supermarkets, Mike Vail stated, “We want access to food to be easy for kids. Locating food pantries where they are — at their schools should make a lasting and deep impact on child nutrition across our five states.”
The $1 million was spread out amongst different organizations. In Maine, the Good Shepherd Food Bank received a $300,000 donation that will be designated toward organizing food banks in 30 head-start preschools in the state.
“We know that expanding our pantry sites to serve pre-school-aged children and their families will play an important role in ensuring a bright future for Maine’s youngest citizens,” Kristen Maile, president of the Good Shepherd Food Bank, stated.
The University of Maine Black Bear Exchange, a food pantry located on the UMaine campus that serves as a resource for members of the UMaine community, has been impacted by the funding allocated to the Good Shepherd Food Bank. In the fall of 2019, the Black Bear Exchange publicly announced its partnership with the Good Shepherd Food Bank, which has allowed the pantry to expand its stock and serve a larger number of community members.
Good Shepherd Food Bank is a local organization based out of Auburn, Maine. The food bank originally started in the apartment and garage of JoAnn and Ray Pike. From the Pikes’ home, the location migrated to an old mill in Lewiston, Maine which allowed it to expand to fill 3,000 square feet. The food bank gained its initial funding from a walk-a-thon that took place on April 12, 1981 which raised $6,000.
In addition, Hannaford plans on formulating relationships with local organizations throughout New England to create food pantries in 90 schools. School pantries are spaces where students have the ability to select from an array of foods they can have either during the school day or to bring home.
Hannaford Supermarkets has a history of donating and working toward ending hunger. In 2018, they donated approximately 26 million pounds of food throughout the region. Additionally, New York has received approximately 5.3 million pounds worth of food.
Annually, during the holiday season, Hannaford has a program called “Hannaford Helps Fight Hunger,” which supports ending hunger in their communities through the assistance of the shoppers. There are donation cards available where shoppers can donate at the register. Additionally, Hannaford sells “Helps Fight Hunger” boxes, each of which contains a meal that can feed up to six people.
Through the “Hannaford Helps Fight Hunger” program, the company has raised $1.1 million in collaboration with their shoppers to progress towards ending hunger.
These efforts, which are a joint collaboration between Maine-based businesses and the community, help to ensure food security for both students and community members. The university has opted to participate in programs to assist community members this holiday season by urging UMaine students, faculty and administration to donate shelf-stable food to local pantries. Boxes located around campus seek donations of holiday-themed foods, shelf-stable foods and foods high in protein such as peanut butter, canned beans and canned tuna fish.
If you wish to donate to a local food pantry, contact Lisa Moran at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can help your community, either through donating to the Black Bear Exchange or assisting with meal packaging preparations to provide holiday dinners to families in need.