Food Insecurity in Maine

We have officially launched the 2016 Justice for Women Lecture Series at Maine Law with a very successful informational gathering on Tuesday, January 19th.

About 75 people braved the very cold weather to learn about the harsh reality of food insecurity in Maine. Many were astonished to learn that 25% of children in Maine and a total of more than 208,000 people in our state are food insecure.* In addition to children, single mothers and seniors bear most of the stress that comes with hunger and poverty.

Our speakers Senator Justin Alfond, Good Shepherd Food Bank (GSFB) President, Kristen Miale and Georgetown University Law Center 3L student Stephanie Littlehale shared their knowledge, ideas for change, challenges and experiences.

The effect was electric. The energy in the room was palpable and many of you asked, "What can I do? How can I help?"

Here are some immediate steps everyone can take to help reduce food insecurity in Maine:

  • DONATE FOOD OR TIME: At GSFB or your local hunger relief organization. Here are guidelines for what food gifts are best suited to food distribution networks in your area.
  • ADVOCATE: There is legislation in the works: LD 1472 To Enhance the Administration of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) by Creating Clear Guidelines for Organizations and Streamlining the Application Process. Sign up to be on the GSFB advocacy list; Call or write your local legislator to convey your concerns with food insecurity in Maine; Watch for additional legislation impacting food insecurity, hunger, healthcare, childcare and poverty.
  • READ AND SHARE: This recent feature story in the Maine Sunday Telegram covers critical details about persistent hunger in Maine. Share it with your friends.
  • UNDERSTAND THE IMPACTS: Food insecurity has a stunning effect on the community as a whole as covered by MPBN in this series on the link between childhood poverty and obesity.
  • SUPPORT: Attend JFW at Maine Law on March 24th featuring Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda and bring a friend. Please consider a gift to help week this program free and accessible to all. Give now!

* Source: 2014 USDA Food Insecurity Report

Good Shepherd Food Bank Kristen Miale responds to a guest's question. With JFW Founder Cathy Lee, Sen. Justin Alfond and Stephanie Littlehale.

Good Shepherd Food Bank Kristen Miale responds to a guest's question. With JFW Founder Cathy Lee, Sen. Justin Alfond and Stephanie Littlehale.

Our work is to advocate and help improve our broken food system. Mainers Feeding Mainers – recognizing that the ultimate solution to hunger is a strong economy that provides good jobs.
— Kristen Miale
Childhood hunger and poverty are hard issues for people and communities to openly talk about. The are many reasons, but a few big ones for me are:
• Mainers are fiercely independent and don’t want help.
• The real stigma around being a student who gets free or reduced meals
• People in need are often portrayed as a cheat or a taker.
— Sen. Justin Alfond
I’ve talked a lot tonight about the guilt; the shame; and the fear that I felt growing up. But I don’t want to forget how I felt in those moments that I was able to find food. First and foremost, I felt lucky that there were so many people out there who wanted to help me. The volunteers at the soup kitchen were my heroes.
— Stephanie Littlehale
 
 

Kick-Off Event Speakers

Kristen Miale - President of the Good Shepherd Food Bank

Kristen Miale - President of the Good Shepherd Food Bank

Sen. Justin Alfond

Sen. Justin Alfond

Stephanie Littlehale - Georgetown University Law School 3L Student

Stephanie Littlehale - Georgetown University Law School 3L Student