Food sits on tables at the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Hampden in this 2019 file photo. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

A new report finds that the number of people without enough food in Maine jumped by more than 40 percent over the past year.

The study, from the nonprofit Hunger Free America, found that nearly 66,000 Mainers didn’t have enough food over a weeklong period in October. The organization relied on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

The group attributes much of the increase to inflation, as well as the expiration of the expanded federal child tax credit.

CEO Joel Berg says that Maine’s recent law providing free school meals to all public school students was a good step to fight hunger — but schools are still only open for around 180 days.

“And that’s why, in addition to school meals, other programs, like WIC, and SNAP, are so vital,” Berg says.

In September, Maine’s Good Shepherd Food Bank said that it increased meal distribution by 16 percent over the past fiscal year.

This story appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.