Today, the Maine Democratic Party announced that their Virtual Food Drive to support the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine had raised enough funds to provide nearly 65,000 meals. The Maine Democratic Party had originally set a goal to provide 16,000 meals across the state, but twice raised the goal thanks to the outpouring of support from Democrats. The Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine is an organization dedicated to eliminating hunger in Maine by improving access to nutritious food for Mainers in need. Today’s announcement represents the close of the Maine Democratic Party’s Virtual Food Drive.

“As the pandemic has worsened in recent months, Maine households that are considered food insecure continue to rise. The Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine has been doing incredible work to meet skyrocketing needs during this difficult time,” said Maine Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Marra. “We’ve seen an outpouring of support from our supporters since kicking off the Virtual Food Drive who saw this need and decided to do something about it. We’re proud to support the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine, and thank our supporters for their generous contributions to put food on the table for thousands of Mainers.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, prior to the start of the pandemic, 13.6 percent of Maine households were food insecure, which was higher than the national average of 11.17 percent. The pandemic is expected to grow the rate of food insecurity in Maine by as much as 25 percent. Food insecurity is even more acute for families with children and for older Mainers. One in five children are food insecure, and nearly one in three older Mainers struggle to access enough food.

The Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine partners with more than 500 local organizations across the state, representing the largest network of food insecurity relief agencies in Maine.  The organization works with food pantries, meal sites, schools, senior centers and health care centers to distribute tens of millions of pounds of food to Mainers in need. In 2019, they distributed 25 million meals through their network of local partner agencies.