By Rich Romero
OHI Resource Developer
OHI, HERMON, Maine – OHI was recently awarded a $2,130 grant from Good Shepherd Food Bank for capacity building at the Brewer Area Food Pantry.
The grant will be used to complete a kitchen in the food pantry and purchase cookware to hold nutritional cooking classes in the facility.
The Brewer Area Food Pantry serves residents in Brewer and Eddington. Currently, an average of 119 households receive more than 4,200 pounds of food each month through the food pantry. In addition, 15 new households a month on average register to use the facility.
“November marks the second anniversary of the Brewer Area Food Pantry,” said Brenda Leavitt, project manager. “The ability to offer nutritional cooking classes out of the food pantry has been a goal of ours since we opened. The challenge was funding the project, but thanks to our partners at Good Shepherd Food Bank that challenge has been met.”
Good Shepherd Food Bank began its Capacity Building Grant Program in 2015 to support partner agencies as they build stronger infrastructures, expand programs and provide even more fresh, nutritious product for the ever-growing need in their communities. In total, the food bank granted more than $90,000 to 43 organizations throughout Maine.
“We are thrilled to be able to support our partners in this way,” said Kristen Miale, Good Shepherd Food Bank president. “One in seven Maine households depends on its local hunger relief charity for food each month, so it’s critical that these agencies have the resources and support they need.”
Good Shepherd Food Bank obtained the funding for these awards from a number of sources, including the Brain Foundation, Narragansett Number One Foundation, TD Foundation, BJ’s Charitable Foundation, Walmart Foundation, Cargill, Partnerships to Improve Community Health/Centers for Disease Control, Simmons Foundation, and the National Dairy Council.
OHI is a Hermon-based nonprofit providing residential and community-based supports and services to adults with intellectual disabilities and mental illness. It supports nearly 400 people in six Maine counties and employs nearly 350 people. It also owns and operates the Brewer Area Food Pantry and Bonnie’s Bargain Basement, “Turning Deals into Meal,” a thrift shop intended to financially support the food pantry. The food pantry provided more than 50,500 pounds of food to food insecure households in 2014.
As the largest hunger relief organization in Maine, Good Shepherd Food Bank provides for Mainers facing hunger by distributing nutritious food to 600 partner agencies across the state, including food pantries, meal sites, and youth programs. Together with its network, the food bank leads a statewide effort to combat the root causes of hunger by engaging in advocacy, nutrition education and strategic partnerships. In 2014, the food bank distributed 17.5 million meals to families, children and seniors in need throughout Maine.