FARMINGTON – The Healthy Community Coalition was recently awarded the Gorman Foundation grant to provide low-income Franklin County residents with emergency food bags. These bags will be distributed by a mobile health unit and will be available at local medical practices and two community programming sites.
The John T. Gorman Foundation, with offices in Portland, funds a Direct Services Grant Program that has awarded over seventy grants this year, donating a total of $1 million to Mainers experiencing homelessness, food insecurity and poverty. The Foundation annually provides grants to organizations such as the HCC, that offer food assistance and supply shelter, clothing and other needed items. This year, they have upped their donation amounts due to the pandemic.
“Even before the pandemic, too many Mainers were experiencing food insecurity, homelessness, and lack of access to many other essentials. Over the last year, the pandemic has only made the situation much worse – increasing unmet needs in Maine communities and straining the organizations that are working valiantly to address them,” Program Associate at the John T. Gorman Foundation Lauralee Raymond said. “We are privileged to be able to support the efforts of these community organizations to help Mainers get through this extremely difficult time.”
The Healthy Community Coalition plans to use this grant in combination with other initiatives to tackle the problem of food insecurity in Franklin County. Jennifer McCormack, the executive director of the HCC, stated that their work in food insecurity “started with initially trying to eliminate poverty, and food is a big part of that.”
Over the past year, the HCC has had a food box program, providing fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products as well as non-perishable food items. According to McCormack, the feedback for these boxes has been positive; people have commented that the food is better and healthier than the canned items available to them at food pantries.
The HCC also operates the Hope Harvest Garden that, thanks to expert volunteers, provides fresh foods for food pantries. They also plan to open a food pantry of their own, hopefully in mid June of this year. The pantry will be located next door to their offices and funded through Maine Health.
For more information about these projects, go to: https://www.mainehealth.org/franklin-community-health-network/healthy-communities