BREWER, Maine — The Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation has awarded Food AND Medicine a $50,000 grant to help support laid-off, low-income and unorganized workers, the nonprofit group has announced.

“This winter, with the economy in crisis, recent layoffs and skyrocketing fuel prices, laid-off workers are going to need all the help they can get,” Jack McKay, president of the Eastern Maine Labor Council and director of Food AND Medicine, said in a press release. “The funds from the King foundation will tremendously help many laid-off workers in eastern Maine, but Food AND Medicine will also continue fighting for systemic change to keep workers from being in these situations in the first place.”

The King foundation grant will be divided with $10,000 going to the Worker Center of Eastern Maine, $10,000 going to the Community Supported Agriculture program, $10,000 for improvements to the Council’s Solidarity Center building, and the final $20,000 to support laid-off workers, the press release states.

Food AND Medicine is a Brewer nonprofit group that provides aid to displaced and unorganized laborers and also strives to support worker rights. The Eastern Maine Labor Council opened the Worker Center of Eastern Maine, dubbed “A Union for Non-Union Workers” in September 2007.

“We are very thankful to have received this grant, and it will greatly benefit workers who are struggling to get by in our area,” said Steve Husson, a DHL delivery driver who lost his job when the company left Brewer, who now works for Food AND Medicine.

Food AND Medicine has provided more than $80,000 in direct support to displaced workers from all over eastern Maine in the last eight years, including provided 150 Thanksgiving Day meals, operating a food bank and a heating oil assistance program, the press release states.=