Hunger relief agency forms partnership with Good Shepherd Food Bank

By partnering with Good Shepherd Food Bank and the USDA for food donations and food distribution services, Spectrum Generations (Central Maine’s area agency on aging) is better able to provide vital supplemental nutrition to help build a healthy foundation for at-risk seniors across central Maine, according to a Spectrum Generations press release.

At Spectrum Generations, the agency believes that no senior should ever go hungry, and that every one of its consumers deserves to have the freshest, best tasting, nutritious meals possible. That’s why in 2011, Spectrum Generations launched a radically new senior nutrition initiative in its mission to end senior hunger called We Sustain Maine. We Sustain Maine is a winning plan to end senior hunger and support Maine agriculture by incorporating food products from Maine’s own local farmers into its senior nutrition programs, creating a sustainable and economically viable alliance.

Good Shepherd has made it possible for Spectrum Generations to provide more fresh Maine foods to its Meals on Wheels and community dining consumers by providing connections to farmers and producers across the state. These connections give Spectrum Generations the opportunity to network directly with the farmers that are growing the food.

Spectrum Generations also works with Good Shepherd to periodically process its surplus of raw produce, turning it into ready to eat products. This allows Good Shepherd to buy more Maine food products at peak season, which in turn supports more Maine farms. When needed, Spectrum Generations recruits and engages food service volunteers to wash, stem, quarter, blanch, flash freeze, and package thousands of pounds of freshly picked produce such as zucchini , corn, tomatoes etc., to be used by school systems — saving them time and money. This gives Spectrum Generations the opportunity to engage volunteers in new ways, increasing retention and allows the agency to recruit new volunteers passionate about the local food movement.

Spectrum Generations also participates in the USDA Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), affectionately known as “senior brown bags.” These bags contain 30 pounds of free food such as pasta, cereal, tuna and peanut butter. While these food packages do not provide a complete diet, they are a good source of nutrition often lacking in the diets of this target population. Good Shepherd prepares and distributes the food bags and Spectrum Generations distributes an average of 700 “senior brown bags” each month to low-income adults 60 and older in central Maine through it central Maine community centers.

The savings that Spectrum Generations achieves through partnering with Good Shepherd and shopping at their facility has made a significant impact on Spectrum Generations bottom line and meal costs low, allowing the agency to deliver more meals during the course of year.

Spectrum Generations is a leader in advocating for the rights and services that benefit older adults, their caregivers and adults with disabilities. For more information, call 800-639-1553 or visit spectrumgenerations.org. Like us on Facebook.

Spectrum Generations and Good Shepherd work hand-in-hand to bring fresh foods to Maine’s older and disabled adults.

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