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17th 'Solidarity Harvest' Thanksgiving Food Distribution Effort Gets Underway

Robbie Feinberg
Maine Public
Volunteer Lee White assists with Solidarity Harvest in November 2019

The Maine workers' group Food AND Medicine kicked off its 17th Annual "Solidarity Harvest" Thanksgiving food distribution Wednesday.

Volunteers assemble Thanksgiving meal baskets, and those baskets are distributed to people around the state.

Food AND Medicine director Jack McKay says that since it started in 2003, Solidarity Harvest has been primarily an effort by Maine's unions. They provide about 60 or 70 percent of the funding for the Thanksgiving meal baskets that Solidarity Harvest volunteers assemble and distribute.

“The remainder come from individuals, congregations, businesses. So we fundraise for the last month or so, and that money in turn gets sent out to local food producers,” says McKay.

He also says supporting local businesses is part of the goal.

“About $49,000 of the money we raise goes to local farms and food producers in the state of Maine. So our goal is to support that economy, support those local farmers,” he says.

Solidarity Harvest began in 2003, as a way to help workers who'd been laid off as a result of mill closings. Last year, it says it provided 1,300 meal baskets to families across the state, with help from more than 400 volunteers.

Robbie Feinbergy contributed to this report.