One in five Maine kids’ lives with food insecurity, which means they don’t know where their next meal will come from or if it will be enough. Many of these children rely on free and reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program to get them through the school day hunger-free. The Ecumenical Food Pantry works to meet families’ nutritional needs during the other times children are likely to experience hunger: weekends, vacations, after school and in the summer.
The Ecumenical Food Pantry Backpack Program discreetly distributes prepacked bags of healthy, easy-to-prepare, shelf-stable food before weekends and long vacations for children to bring home. In Lincoln County, the program is expanding to meet the need in the area. Not only is the program evaluating its current menus, with an eye on expanding meal offerings, but the number of students being supported has once again grown.
In conjunction with the Head Start program (one of the area partners), the Ecumenical Food Pantry Backpack Program will almost double the number of students in the weekly delivery. In addition to 25 backpacks for Great Salt Bay Community School students, the program will be providing 20 additional packs for the Friendship Center students in Waldoboro. While the program awaits final head counts from other area partners and schools, it is thrilled at this growth and looks forward to the school year ahead.
Those interested in donating time or resources to the Ecumenical Food Pantry Backpack Program, or in any of the food pantry’s community involvements, should go to newcastlefoodpantry.org.