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Amid rising food costs, Preble Street and DoorDash are delivering fresh food to Mainers

Linda Nordin, Joe O’Connor, Eric Leuck
Charles Rex Arbogast
/
AP
Volunteers Joe O'Connor, left, Eric Leuck, center and Linda Nordin load food items into a box at the Northern Illinois Food Bank to be delivered by DoorDash drivers for area residents who are homebound Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, in Park City, Ill. Previously, the pantry's express program was not available to its homebound clients because someone had to physically go to a collection point to pick up the food. But with DoorDash's technology, now homebound clients can go to the My Pantry Express website and pick from the available food.

A new partnership between Preble Street Food Security Hub and delivery service DoorDash is getting fresh food into the hands of residents who are struggling with rising costs.

"So many factors in life have to be juggled. Where am I living, do I have a job, do I have a livable wage, do I have health insurance? The least we can do is feed people," said Preble Street volunteer Linda Hogan.

She is part of the team that packs customized food boxes that DoorDash drivers will deliver to Cumberland County residents in need. More than 800 boxes have been delivered since the pilot program started last summer. Preble Street Food Programs Director Natalie Varrallo said it's another way to help hungry Mainers.

"This is another opportunity to get food boxes into the community with minimal barriers, to increase dignity and access for people to receive delivery directly to their houses," she said.

Preble Street's Mobile Food Services Manager Matt Sarson said even schools are reaching out to connect families in need with the program.

"We've had calls from people in schools that have students they know they don't have food," he said. "People still struggling to get food and put it on the table."

DoorDash covers the driver fees to deliver the food boxes. The company says its employees wanted to make a difference and came up with the program, called Project Dash, in 2018.