ELLSWORTH — The Hancock County Food Security Network will host the 10th annual Hancock County Food Drive in April. The month-long collaborative fundraising project supports 18 food pantries, meal sites, and school backpack programs across Hancock County. This year, the project aims to raise $40,000, which will provide 160,000 meals of healthy food to Mainers experiencing food insecurity.

According to the Maine Center for Economic Policy, more than 1 in 10 Maine households goes without nutritious food, making Maine the most food insecure state in New England. Childhood food insecurity rates in our region are even higher: according to Kids Count Data Center, 20 percent or 1 in 5 – children in Hancock County live in food-insecure households, which can have lifelong impacts on children’s physical health, mental health, and education and economic outcomes. 

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused widespread unemployment, has exacerbated the challenges that Mainers face when accessing healthy food. Food assistance programs in Hancock County that were already grappling with high hunger rates are now reporting a sharp increase in numbers. The Hancock County Food Drive helps to ensure that these programs have the resources they need and that all families in our community have access to healthy, affordable food. 

A series of fundraising and food collection events will take place throughout the month of April, including the county-wide Kick-Off Collection Event on April 3. To prioritize safety for volunteers, this year’s Food Drive will focus primarily on virtual fundraisers and outdoor events, such as “fun run” marathons, workshops led by local artisans, virtual concerts and online auctions.

To learn more about the Food Drive, including how to sign on as a sponsor, visit www.hcfooddrive.org, or contact Rachel Emus, Healthy Acadia’s Hancock County Food Programs Manager, at Rachel@HealthyAcadia.org

Healthy Acadia is a 501(C)(3) community health organization building vibrant communities and making it easier for all people to lead healthy lives throughout Washington and Hancock counties. This year, Healthy Acadia invites you to join them in celebrating 20 years of empowering people and organizations to build healthy communities together. For more information about Healthy Acadia’s community health initiatives, visit HealthyAcadia.org