Hunger is a problem that affects so many around the world, but it can be hard to fathom how many people in the United States endure hunger despite its reputation for being one of the wealthiest nations in the world. The numbers can be overwhelming. Here in Maine, we are fortunate to have organizations like Good Shepherd Food Bank and Bread for the World who are working toward meaningful solutions.
See Also: Hunger in Maine and How You Can Help
Good Shepherd Food Bank
The Good Shepard Food Bank, or GSFB, partners with Maine’s food industry to gather millions of pounds of food each year for distribution to food pantries. The programs of GSFB feed over 36,000 people each week in every county in Maine. GSFB also runs several programs to meet the food needs of families, youth and seniors throughout the state. The Senior Food Mobile and Senior Brown Bags programs help provide seniors with the nutrients rich foods often lacking in low income seniors’ diets. Through the Mainers Feeding Mainers program, GSFB works with local farmers and fisherman to collect and distribute, fresh, local produce and high protein foods to Maine’s hungry.
Organizations like Friends of Aroostook, a nonprofit that leases farm land to grow, and harvest fresh vegetables, partner with GSFB to help feed the working hungry and seniors in their community. The Summer Food Service, and Back Pack Programs seek to help Maine’s 80,000 students who qualify for free and reduced-fee lunches have nutritious food available when school is not in session.
Bread for the World
Bread for the World is an organization based in Washington, DC, whose mission is not only to help feed the hungry now, but to end hunger. Bread for the World works through state chapters across the country, helping faith-based and community organizations to engage people in letter writing campaigns, urging Congress to create legislation that is “fair and compassionate to people in need.” For many, it is their first communication with their representatives, and is instrumental in getting political leaders to help move toward the goal to end hunger.
In recent economic times, the numbers of those who suffer from lack of food or adequate nutrition have increased dramatically. According to Bread for the World, the number of clients seeking emergency food assistance rose 46% between 2006 and 2010 in the United States. Unfortunately, Food Supplemental Assistance Programs (SNAP) are not meeting the current need. In Maine, 43% of food insecure individuals earn too much to qualify for supplemental nutrition subsidies like food stamps, and must rely on charitable organizations like Good Shepard Food Bank for adequate nutrition.