AUGUSTA — The Augusta Food Bank will celebrate its history while raising money for the future during Saturday’s 30th anniversary celebration.

Nancy Haines, president of the food bank board, said the celebration arrives at a crucial point in the food bank’s history.

“Getting food is becoming a problem,” Haines said.

The celebration kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Le Club Calumet.

“The support from the community and businesses has been wonderful,” Haines said.

The fundraiser is being held in response to the food bank’s growing inability to purchase cheap food at a time of unprecedented demand, Haines said.

Auburn-based Good Shepherd Food Bank, which supplies most of the food pantries throughout the state, sells its food for 17 cents per pound.

But Good Shepherd, struggling with diminishing donations and increasing demand, is now unable meet all of the August Food Bank’s needs.

That means the Augusta bank must buy more of its food at retail.

“Instead of paying 16 or 17 cents for that can of soup or peanut butter, we’re paying $1 per unit,” Haines said. “You can see how our food budget is going up drastically.”

Augusta Food Bank Executive Director Abigail Perry said the food bank feeds more than 900 people per month. There has been a 23 percent increase in the number of new families served over the past two years.

“In August alone we had 65 new clients, which included 155 new mouths fed,” Perry said.

Haines hopes to raise $5,000 so that the food bank will not have to cut back on the amount of food it gives out.

“We may be forced to,” Haines said. “We certainly don’t want to.”

Tickets are $30 per person and can be bought with cash or checks in advance at Harvest Time Natural Foods on Capitol Street; Aubuchon Hardware on Bangor Street; at the Manchester Town Hall or by calling Marcella at 623-9232.

In addition to a cash bar and dinner, the celebration will include a live auction, silent pie auction and a 50/50 raffle.

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