Aroostook’s four hospitals are joining forces with the region-wide Feed The County effort to replenish area food pantries in the month of May. The Hospitals Against Hunger Food Drive will kick off Monday, May 11, and continue through May 21, with numerous drop-off locations where non-perishable food item donations will be accepted.
“We serve 24 food pantries throughout the county, and each month we distribute over 30,000 pounds of food to the pantries we work with. We had a long and expensive winter in Aroostook County. It was hard on so many of our people who struggle with food insecurity. It was hard for us, as well, and we are now challenged with low food reserves in our warehouses and the need continues to be great for so many,” said Dixie Shaw, program director of hunger and relief services for Catholic Charities Maine, the only food bank north of Brewer, and one of the key partners, along with WAGM-TV and Aroostook Savings and Loan, for Feed The County. “We are so pleased Aroostook’s four hospitals have come together, not only draw attention to this cause, but to rally The County community to ‘together make a difference.’”
Houlton Regional Hospital, TAMC, Cary Medical Center and Northern Maine Medical Center officials have been working collaboratively to plan the food drive for several weeks. The joint project is set to kick off at the start of National Hospital Week.
“One of the best things about living in The County is how we come together as one community to rally around a great cause. Certainly ensuring that families and our seniors have enough food to eat is a cause we all should rally around,” said TAMC President and CEO Sylvia Getman.
“This has been a particularly hard winter for many families in the County,” said Kris Doody, RN, CEO at Cary Medical Center. “Neighbor helping neighbor has always been a tradition here so we’re pleased to be part of this important collaborative project to restock the shelves of our regional food bank, which, in turn will provide much needed supplies to area food pantries. We see these efforts as living out our vision of creating a healthier community.”
In central Aroostook, all TAMC, Cary Medical Center and Pines Health Services locations, Aroostook Savings and Loan branches and other area businesses have joined in the effort and will accept donations to support the Hospitals Against Hunger Food Drive.
This is the first year Northern Maine Medical Center and Houlton Regional Hospital take part in the food drive. The first-of-its-kind drive was undertaken three years ago by TAMC during the medical center’s centennial celebration as a way to give back to the community that had supported the hospital for a century.
“Houlton Regional Hospital is pleased to join this collaborative effort with the County hospitals in this important effort to fight hunger. I invite everyone in the Houlton area to stop by the hospital and contribute non-perishable food items to help those in need,” said Tom Moakler, CEO of Houlton Regional Hospital.
As part of the county-wide effort, the four hospitals will have a table set up to accept non-perishable food items at the Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast, an event they are all supporting, on Wednesday, May 13 at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center. In addition, special events are planned at each hospital during National Hospital Week (May 11-15) to encourage both employees and community members to join in the collection effort.
Caribou: Aroostook Savings and Loan, Cary Medical Center, County Physical Therapy, Pines Caribou Health Center and TAMC’s Caribou Health Center.
Food Donation Drop-Off Event
Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast: Wednesday, May 13 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center.