ELLSWORTH — Volunteers at sites across Hancock County will kick off the 12th annual Hancock County Food Drive on Saturday, April 1. From Deer Isle to Winter Harbor, from Ellsworth to Bucksport, grocery stores and general stores will be staffed by enthusiastic volunteers clad in fruit and vegetable costumes, ready to accept donations for the Food Drive and spread excitement about the month to come. 

The Hancock County Food Drive raises funds and collects food for 19 food security organizations across the county, including food pantries, school backpack programs, and free community meal programs. This year, the Food Drive is more important than ever, as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — SNAP — benefits are cut nationwide and many Mainers face dramatic cuts to their benefits. Rising food prices are squeezing budgets even tighter, for both households and the food security organizations that support them. Donating or volunteering for events like the Kick-off is a great way to give back to your community and support individuals and families experiencing hunger during difficult times.

The Kick-off event is just the first in a series of exciting fundraisers. During the week of April 15–23, runners, walkers, hikers, swimmers, and bikers — and folks just looking to get more active — are invited to participate in Miles for Meals, a virtual fundraising challenge. And, for the entire month of April, young readers can join the Read-a-thon, and “read to feed their neighbors”: every minute spent reading supports local food security organizations. 

Open Table MDI in Bar Harbor is also hosting not one, but two exciting events: a delicious pancake breakfast complete with real Maine maple syrup, sausage, and hash browns (April 2, 7-10 a.m.), and a Moth-style story hour on April 22. Stay tuned for details about other events in the works for later in the month, including a movie night for the whole family on the Village Green in Bar Harbor.

With 19 different food security organizations, local business sponsors, and many more community partners, the Hancock County Food Drive is bringing together neighbors and reminding us of the power of community. Explore the Hancock County Food Drive website to learn more and get involved. If you or someone close to you is experiencing food insecurity and needs support, find an organization near you on this resource list

The food drive is organized by the Hancock County Food Security Network, in collaboration with Healthy Acadia, Heart of Maine United Way, Maine Community Foundation, Star 97.7, UMaine Cooperative Extension, and Maine Coast Mall.