Maine’s network of farmers and community organizations that help feed the hungry will receive a $140,000 boost from Hannaford, the supermarket chain announced Tuesday.

The funds will be divided among three Maine groups. The Good Shepherd Food Bank, which gathers donated food and works with a statewide network to distribute it throughout the state, will receive $100,000. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one in six Mainers is food insecure, meaning they live without reliable access to affordable, nutritious food. The number is even higher for Maine children, with one in four described as food insecure.

“This funding will allow us to purchase nutritious food from our local farm partners and test out innovative new methods for distributing the food to the most rural and under-served area of our state,” said Nancy Perry, program manager for Mainers Feeding Mainers, Good Shepherd Food Bank’s local foods program.

Cultivating Community in Portland was awarded $30,000. Cultivating Community leads training for New American farmers in Lewiston, Lisbon and elsewhere, and works with the city of Portland to expand and manage community gardens, including the Boyd Street Urban Farm in East Bayside, where Hannaford made its announcement. Among Cultivating Community’s many innovative programs is the Good Food Bus, a mobile food market which helps bring local food to customers in Auburn, Bath, Gorham, Lewiston and Westbrook. Craig Lapine, Cultivating Community’s executive director, said the group plans to use its $30,000 donation to further expand access to healthy food and to land for growing food, as well as to build community for people of all ages who are socially and economically disadvantaged.

The third recipient is Full Plates Full Potential in Portland. Justin Alfond, co-founder of the group, which aims to end child hunger in Maine, said in a release that Hannaford’s $10,000 donation means more students will have access to local produce. “Every day, nearly half of Maine children are eligible for free and reduced breakfast or lunch meals,” Alfond said.

The money for Maine programs is part of a $407,000 donation across the five-state region Hannaford serves. The supermarket set up a challenge to customers earlier this year, promising to make a donation toward hunger relief every time a customer purchased an item rated with at least one star in the chain’s three-star system, Guiding Stars.

One star means a food ranks as “good” in terms of offering nutrition for its calories (a three star item ranks as “best nutritional value”).

Last year, Hannaford, which has 181 stores in the Northeast, donated 23 million pounds of meat, seafood, produce and packaged food to local pantries and food banks.

Mary Pols can be contacted at 791-6456 or at:

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