CARIBOU — This fall, Power of Prevention partnered with Catholic Charities’ Food for Maine initiative to find volunteers to help with the harvest for the food bank’s local vegetable fields, with funding through the local Healthy Maine Partnership’s Partnerships in Improving Community Health (PICH) grant award.
Members of Girl Scout Troop 2257 of Caribou turned out on a recent Saturday to help harvest corn in Catholic Charities’ local fields. They and other volunteers brought in 1,500 pounds of corn for the local food bank.
Catholic Charities regularly supplies local food pantries with food that’s been donated, and in some cases, with food grown right in the County, in fields on land donated by local landowners for use by the food bank to grow fresh, organic vegetables.
Volunteers assembled in the fields to find corn stalks that stood only about waist high. Their small stature was deceptive, as the volunteers quickly discovered, peeling back the leaves to find row upon row of corn cobs ready to be picked.
“The corn got planted late this year, didn’t think we’d get any in,” said Dixie Shaw, director of Catholic Charities. In the end, 54 cases that weighed in at 1,500 pounds proved that the corn had been given just the right amount of time.
Shaw pointed out that a lot of food in storage is highly processed and full of preservatives. She really wanted to provide the food pantries with fresh produce, but the high price and short shelf life made it difficult to distribute to those in need.
“So we just decided we can grow it cheaper than going out and buying it,” Shaw explained. With the aid of local farmers and any volunteers willing to give up an afternoon or two, Shaw oversaw the planting and harvesting of corn, rutabaga and beets.
For information on program, call Shaw at 207-498-8909 or Shannon Kornachuk, PICH coordinator, at 207-999-1810.
Funded by the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Partnerships in Improving Community Health, Power of Prevention is working to prevent chronic disease, risk factors, and reduce health disparities, through clinical and community linkages with numerous community partners.