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Business and Economy

Good Shepherd Food Bank Launches $250 Million Campaign

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Caitlin Troutman
/
Maine Public file
Food at Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn in Nov. 2019.

Good Shepherd Food Bank is launching a $250 million campaign with a goal to end hunger in Maine by 2025.

The organization says that it’s working to raise $100 million in cash and another $150 million in donated food, which will be used to supply millions more meals to those in need each year.

The effort comes as food insecurity has sharply risen during the pandemic. Good Shepherd estimates that nearly 215,000 people in Maine are now considered food insecure — close to 16 percent of the state’s population.

Vice President Erin Fogg says that the organization distributed about 27 million meals last year, but another 13 million meals would be needed to fill the needs in the state.

“We want to close that gap, and also work to invest in strategies to reduce the number of meals that are needed in the long term,” she says.

Good Shepherd says it’s on track to distribute more than 32 million meals this year, but Fogg says the organization hopes to distribute millions more to meet the needs of all Mainers.

Fogg says some of the campaign money will be used to help community partners expand their capacity to meet the increasing need, and to also look at new ways to distribute food, such as through health care centers or libraries.

“So we really want to change what food access looks like. We want to make food more readily available, easier for folks to get. And really improve how folks feel when they get food,” she says.

The organization says Hannaford Supermarkets is projected to donate more than $120 million in food and financial contributions as part of the campaign. Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $25 million to Good Shepherd last month.