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Food Bank seeks to raise $200K through Virtual Holiday Food Drive

Record numbers of Mainers are struggling to access enough food—a situation that will only become more dire as we enter the holiday season and long winter ahead. In an effort to provide nutritious food for the 15 percent of Maine households that face hunger, Good Shepherd Food Bank has set a goal of $200,000 for its 2012 Virtual Holiday Food Drive.

While many of us have the desire to give back to the community during the holiday season, often our busy schedules make it difficult to follow through on our good intentions. Good Shepherd Food Bank makes it easy to take part in a holiday food drive, right from your computer. By logging on to feedingmaine.org, you can choose from numerous food products at various giving levels.

The Virtual Holiday Food Drive demonstrates to the donor just how far their financial gift to the Food Bank can stretch. For instance, with a $25 donation, the Food Bank can acquire 50 pounds of fresh produce for Maine families.

Hannaford Supermarkets has generously kicked off this annual campaign with a $50,000 gift. The Food Bank is asking people throughout Maine to give as generously as they can to help bring the total up to $200,000. Funds raised will help meet the increasing need for emergency food throughout the state.

“Hannaford is proud to support the Virtual Food Drive, at a time when many of our neighbors are struggling to access the nutritious food they need,” said Eric Blom, Hannaford spokesman. “We work with Good Shepherd throughout the year and understand that hunger is an ongoing problem. The Virtual Food Drive provides all of us with a chance to do even more to help Mainers who are hungry this holiday season.”

Good Shepherd Food Bank’s partner agencies are reporting extremely high demand for food assistance this year. Food pantries and soup kitchens depend on the Food Bank at this time of year to stock up for additional meal programs and holiday food distributions. During this time of increased need, the Food Bank looks to the community for support to meet the needs of the 600 food pantries, soup kitchens and other nonprofits that it supplies throughout the state.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported in September that nearly 49 million Americans are unable to access adequate amounts of nutritious food. It is estimated that nearly 200,000 Mainers are facing hunger, including 1 in 4 Maine children.

“It is evident from the recent statistics, and from what we hear from our partner agencies, that our help is needed now more than ever,” said Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank. “For our neighbors who are struggling to put food on their tables each week, the upcoming holiday season and the long Maine winter pose an overwhelming burden.”

“Many Maine families will face difficult choices in the weeks and months ahead—such as whether to heat their homes, or put food on the table,” said Kristen Miale. “Or whether to give Christmas presents, or cook a special holiday meal. If we work together, we can make sure all Maine families get the nutritious food they need this winter.”

For more information or to make a donation to the Virtual Holiday Food Drive, please visit www.feedingmaine.org.

The largest hunger relief organization in Maine, Good Shepherd Food Bank provides for those at risk of hunger by acquiring surplus and purchased food and distributing that food to more than 600 partner agencies across Maine. Since 1981, the Food Bank has partnered with individuals, businesses, and farmers to alleviate hunger and build community relationships.

In 2011 the Food Bank distributed 13 million pounds of food to families in need. For information, call 782-3554; see www.gsfb.org and Facebook: www.facebook.com/feedingmaine; of go to Twitter: www.twitter.com/feedingmaine.

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