ORONO — The Maine Hunger Dialogue has awarded a $500 grant to the University of Maine Honors College to fight food insecurity in the student population. UMaine Honors College students who attended the 2020 Maine Hunger Dialogue, held virtually Oct. 23, applied for this funding based on their research that found food insecurity, already on the rise in the UMaine student population in recent years, has increased this year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Honors College student initiative, spearheaded by students Katie Tims and Bailey West, with support from Honors College Associate Dean Melissa Ladenheim, seeks to provide the Black Bear Exchange campus food pantry with a sustainable pipeline of nonfood personal care items that, while necessary, are harder to prioritize given the organization’s limited food budget. Additional goals of this project are to create a campaign to reduce the stigma of student food insecurity and to raise awareness for the Black Bear Exchange.
“The goal of the Maine Hunger Dialogue is to inspire students from the state’s public and private universities and colleges, including community colleges, to learn, share ideas, network and work together to fight hunger across Maine,” says Frank Wertheim, a University of Maine Cooperative Extension associate professor of agriculture and horticulture. “Thanks to generous funding from Sodexo, the Maine Hunger Dialogue has been able to fund limited participant mini-grants to students and staff who come together to learn, share their ideas, existing programs and projects, and then work together as a network to fight food insecurity.”
The recipients of this award will present the results of their work at the 2021 Maine Hunger Dialogue, scheduled for late fall at the University of Maine at Farmington. Sponsors include UMaine Extension, University of Maine at Presque Isle, University of Southern Maine, Husson University and Maine Compass Compact. For more information, contact Frank Wertheim at 207-324-2814 or email@example.com.