Hannaford Supermarkets says it is joining with hunger relief organizations in Maine and other states in the Northeast to establish 90 school food pantries. The company says it is committing $1 million, about $300,000 of which will go to Maine.
The company plans to work with Good Shepherd Food Bank to open food pantries in 30 Maine Head Start locations.
Hannaford spokesperson Ericka Dodge says it was Good Shepherd, which already operates more than 140 school food pantries in Maine, that suggested Head Starts.
“We really leaned in to the food bank partners to identify the best use and the best place for those dollars and that investment in Maine,” she says. :It was identified that Head Start preschools would be the best investment.”
Dodge says the company has a long history of donating both food and money to fight hunger, but that this move represents a more hands-on approach.
“It's the first time we've sort of taken our money and our partnerships and relationships, and said OK this is a focused, concerted effort, this is what we're going to do over the next two years.”
According to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, 20 percent of Maine children, more than 47,000, are food insecure. The organization already runs more than 140 food pantries at schools in Maine.