Courtesy of Healthy Acadia

CALAIS — Healthy Acadia would like to express their gratitude to the dedicated volunteers from the Calais Fire Department, the Irene Chadbourne Ecumenical Food Pantry and to Calais High School students Cameron Kelley, Tristan Seavey, Zachary Wentworth, Sophie McVicar, and Nedra Bassett for stepping up beyond the call of duty to overcome food box distribution challenges on Feb. 25. The truck scheduled to deliver community food boxes from the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program for distribution to Calais area residents was 90 minutes late in arriving. The fire department helped to manage the long line of vehicles as residents waiting for the first-come, first-served food box distribution created congestion for a few hours on the Calais downtown riverfront. 

When the truck finally arrived, the 500 boxes of food went quickly and were not enough to meet the needs of the community. To the dismay of all involved, a handful of individuals and families at the back of the line went home empty-handed. The Feb. 25 delivery brought a total of 1,000 boxes to Washington County which were split equally between two distribution sites — Narraguagus High School in Harrington and Dead River Company lot in Calais. The experience at the Harrington distribution site was similar — the high school parking lot was full and the line of vehicles stretched a good distance along adjacent Webb District Road. Everyone there also waited patiently for over an hour for the truck to arrive.

“Thankfully, we were successful in getting over 30,000 pounds of food out in the community last Thursday regardless of the late start,” said Regina Grabrovac, food programs manager with Healthy Acadia. “It would not have been possible without the dedication of the host of volunteers at both sites. Unfortunately, there was absolutely nothing that we could do about the truck’s delay other than to be patient. We were in constant contact with the trucker dispatch and they could not reach the trucker. All of us from dispatch, to the truck driver – when she finally arrived, and all of us at Healthy Acadia are so sorry for the frustration that it caused many of you, including several Calais businesses located near to the distribution.” 

Grabrovac noted that during the previous summer, the partners organized nine distributions, distributing over 230,000 pounds of food with little mishap.

For information about future distributions follow Healthy Acadia on Facebook (@healthyacadia), tune in to Classic Hits radio WQDY, check in with your local food pantry or contact Regina Grabrovac at 207-255-3741. Notices are also sent by email — to be added to Healthy Acadia’s Food Security Network email list, email Regina at

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