The Star-Herald

Two County sites earn cultural food grants

AUBURN, MaineGood Shepherd Food Bank has announced the recipients of its Community Redistribution Fund grant awards, which include two sites in Aroostook County. 

Micmac Farms of Caribou received an award to support the distribution of Food Sovereignty boxes, filled with foods produced by Native American producers, to families within the Arookstook Band of Micmacs.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Border Towns in Aroostook and Washington counties, which includes the Presque Isle Boys & Girls Club, received funds to support the preparation and distribution of traditional Sipayik and Maliseet meals to youth and families.

According to Good Shepherd Food Bank, the purpose of the Community Redistribution Fund is to support grantees’ efforts to source and distribute culturally-specific and relevant foods to community members in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants are intended for organizations working closely and primarily with BIPOC (Black and Indigenous people and People of Color), immigrant and refugee communities. 

“All grants are focused on building food security in the grantee’s community,” stated Jessica Gildea, program manager for Good Shepherd Food Bank’s Youth and Families Initiatives program. “Grassroots, community-led organizations and coalitions were strongly encouraged to apply. 

She added, “We received an overwhelming number of applications and supported as many as possible. Funded initiatives included a wide variety of projects, including direct distribution of food, creating food pantries, building greenhouses to grow community food, and providing clean drinking water.” 

A central tenet of the grant-making process was to shift power and decision-making away from the Food Bank to community members.

Grant awards of up to $10,000 were available and priority was given to community-led organizations that are not currently Good Shepherd Food Bank partners, and those led by and primarily serving people of color. 

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