Worried About Feeding Yourself and Your Family This Winter? Here’s Help!

Are you worried about feeding yourself and your family this winter? If so, you’re not alone: 200,000 Mainers, or over 1 in 7, are “food insecure” – meaning not sure where their next meal will come from. This is especially true for young families: nearly 1 in 4 Maine children live in poverty. Our area is no exception.

Fortunately, there are at least three options available in our region to help you get through. It’s worth noting that these are funded and staffed by volunteers, without state assistance. Unfortunately, there are very limited hours and transportation can be a challenge in rural areas like Bowdoin, Bowdoinham and Richmond, the towns I represent.

1) The Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program in Brunswick operates a soup kitchen each weekday for lunch, as well as a food pantry Monday, Wednesday and Friday with limited hours.  They also plan to hold open “food mobiles” for all comers on 11/8 from 2 to 4 pm and on 12/8 from 9 to 11 am, as well as Saturday hot lunches from 11 am to 12:15 pm on 11/17 and 12/15.  MCHPP is located at 84A Union Street in Brunswick.  For details on hours, eligibility or to volunteer, call 725-2716 any weekday from 8:30 to 3:30.

2) The Friends Helping Community (FHC) food pantry is available to assist residents of Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, and the surrounding communities. Operating as a call ahead service, the pantry has pre-packaged “basic boxes” to meet the food needs of a family for 4-5 days. Boxes may include staples like flour, sugar, coffee, and tea; canned fruits and vegetables; peanut butter and jelly; macaroni & cheese and boxed dinners; canned stews and soups; hot and cold cereals.  In addition, there are certificates available to use at the local stores to purchase fresh basics including milk, bread, eggs, and butter. To learn more, get help, or give help, please call 666-5651– Denise Norko (ext. 2248) or Carolynn Sumner (ext. 2820).

3) The Richmond Area Food Pantry welcomes Richmond residents as well as neighbors in Bowdoinham and Dresden.  Located in the dining room of the Dresden-Richmond United Methodist Church at 121 Pleasant St in Richmond, RAFP is open on the first Wednesday of every month from 4 to 6 pm and the third Saturday of every month from 2 to 4 pm.  To volunteer or to donate items at RAFP, contact Janette Sweem at richmondfoodpantry.me@gmail.com.

For additional resources to help your family through a tough spot, call 2-1-1 to learn about heating and weatherization, or other limited assistance. Remember, it is not a child’s fault when a parent loses a job or has trouble finding work; or a senior’s fault when Social Security and Medicare can’t cover the cost of heat, medication and food.  Our community needs all its citizens to survive and succeed!