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State Earmarks $2 Million In Federal Funds For Maine Food Banks

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
Volunteers Holly Roberts, right, and Terry Lord pick fruit to be bagged and given away at a food pantry at the First Universalist Church, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in Norway, Maine.

Citing unprecedented demand, the Mills administration is putting $2 million in federal relief funds toward food banks and pantries to reimburse them for at least a portion of extra expenditures they’ve had this year.

Under the program announced Friday, food banks and pantries can apply for up to $10,000 in relief money to defray expenses they’ve incurred during the pandemic.

The funds come through the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Food Security Network Reimbursement Program, and will be administered by Catholic Charities Maine.

Among other things, the funding can be used to reimburse organizations for equipment, projects and improvements undertaken since March 1.

The deadline to apply is Dec. 18. The funds will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.

An estimated 180,000 people in Maine struggle with food insecurity, according to Good Shepherd Food Bank, but the hunger-relief organization predicts the number may be closer 250,000 due to the pandemic.