Good Shepherd Food Bank works with regional partners across Maine to convene local experts and identify solutions to their area’s unique food access challenges in an effort to close the meal gap. In the fall of 2019, Good Shepherd Food Bank invited Healthy Acadia to help support their effort to initiate a Community-Driven Strategies project in Washington County. 

As part of the project, requests for funding proposals were invited from local stakeholders and organizations to develop creative solutions to address hunger at the local level. Throughout the long and challenging months since the onset of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, a team of community stakeholders has continued working behind the scenes to help make some big dreams come true for local food security organizations. Final grant awards were announced recently. 

The Community-Driven Strategies Team would like to congratulate the following organizations on their successful proposals for ending hunger efforts in Washington County:

Christine B. Foundation: Food costs associated with Christine B. Foundation’s home delivery program for immunocompromised patients; 

Healthy Acadia: to support staff working to maintain and continue food security organization community networking efforts, including quarterly meetings; 

Machias Food Pantry: building costs for a new and expanded food pantry facility; 

Maine Seacoast Mission: expenses associated with their Family Food Center model

Town of Danforth Food Pantry: creation of Last-Mile Solutions to better serve elders and other community members. 

Thanks to the wonderful generosity of Good Shepherd Food Bank and an additional sum from the Washington County Food and Fuel Alliance, a total of $190,000 was awarded. “We are excited to support these innovative approaches to closing the meal gap,” said Shannon Coffin, vice president of community partnerships at Good Shepherd and lead for this project. “Thank you all for your feedback and support for this project over the past 16 months; we hope to continue working with you all on ending hunger efforts in the future.”

“It has been an honor to work with Good Shepard Food Bank in this way over the last year and a half,” said Regina Grabrovac, community organizer for the project, and Healthy Acadia’s Food Program Manager. “The synergies, collaborations, and creativity that have resulted will go a long way towards significantly increasing the capacity of this region to feed our community. 

Hunger is so much more complex than is often recognized. Making food more accessible is only one aspect of how to reduce poverty. We must continue asking questions of those who experience poverty – what are your needs and how can we do better? Eliminating hunger is one goal within a complex web that includes addressing all of the aspects of poverty.”

For more information about the Community-Driven Strategies project, to be placed on the food security email list, or for information about other food security efforts in Washington County, contact Regina Grabrovac at regina@healthyacadia.org

Healthy Acadia is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that engages in a broad range of initiatives to build healthier communities and make it easier for people to lead healthy lives across Washington and Hancock counties, Maine. Learn more at www.healthyacadia.org.