Deliveries are made twice a week to approximately 40 households, and families who are able to pick up food themselves can access 10 food pantries in Lincoln County.
When the coronavirus hit Maine and businesses began shutting down in mid-March, a group of businesses, individuals and nonprofits came together to take care of people in Lincoln County experiencing food insecurity during the pandemic. Since then the collaboration, now called the Lincoln County Food Initiative has delivered more than 25,000 meals to local households, distributed more than 30,000 pounds of food to local pantries and neighbors in need, mobilized more than 20 volunteers, and raised more than $40,000 in cash support and in-kind donations to make these efforts possible, according to a news release from Jenny Mayher.
The initiative runs a hotline (207-563-6658) where people can call to learn about accessing food during these uncertain times. Navigators connect people with services based on their needs and location.
“Many people have experienced food insecurity for the first time since quarantine began, and they don’t know where to start asking for help,” said Jess Breithaupt, who works for Healthy Lincoln County and serves as the project coordinator for the initiative, according to the release. “Through the hotline people can ask how food pantries work, and what other services are available locally.”
Meal delivery boxes set to go out from the Kieve Wavus Inc. dining hall in Nobleboro. Kieve Wavus has been preparing and making meal deliveries as part of the Lincoln County Food Initiative effort to provide food relief during the COVID-19 crisis. Photo courtesy of Lincoln County Food Initiative
Kieve Wavus Education Inc. runs the food delivery service from its campus in Nobleboro, where Kieve Wavus chefs prepare meals and employees make deliveries twice a week to approximately 40 households. Families who are able to pick up food themselves can access 10 food pantries in Lincoln County, including Alna, Boothbay, Bristol, Jefferson, Newcastle, New Harbor, Waldoboro, Westport Island, Whitefield and Wiscasset. The initiative also prepares meal packs that include ingredients for preparing meals at home in an effort to increase and normalize food access for families in Lincoln County, according to the recent update.
The initiative works with the CLC YMCA and the Damariscotta Police Department to organize the weekly Fill the Y Bus food drive, which takes place on Tuesdays at Main Street Grocery and The Animal House in Damariscotta. More than a dozen food drives have taken place since April, and more are scheduled weekly throughout the summer. The Fill the Y Bus drives “help us meet the needs of people and their pets across Lincoln County,” according to Karen-Ann Hagar, who works as Outreach Director at the CLC YMCA and serves as the navigator for the initiative. “We raise funds to purchase food, but we also ask people to make donations on their weekly grocery run. These drives have been successful thanks to the generosity of neighbors helping neighbors.”
Organizations spearheading the Lincoln County Food Initiative include Main Street Grocery, S. Fernald’s Country Store, Healthy Lincoln County, the CLC YMCA, Lincoln County Regional Planning Commission, Kieve Wavus Education, Inc. and Lincoln Academy, among others. A complete list of local business and restaurant partners can be found HERE.
Donations for the Lincoln County Food Initiative can be made online at healthylincolncounty.org/donate.
Food services can be accessed by calling 207-563-6658.