Waldo County Bounty, a community fundraising and resource-sharing campaign designed to improve food security for all people in Waldo County during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, was launched May 3, according to a news release from Sara Trunzo, campaign manager.

The campaign was formed by individuals and organizations in Waldo County to meet immediate, essential food security needs by flowing vital, financial and material resources to multiple parts of the local food system, including hunger relief programs, farmers and gardeners. This multi-prong, grassroots effort will serve immediate needs also while building resiliency, interconnectivity and investment in the food system beyond the current crisis.

The campaign’s first phase is focused immediately upon raising and forwarding financial resources to those who are already positioned and skilled to meet urgent needs, using the following methods.
1. Direct purchases from local farms for food pantries and soup kitchens, a win-win for farmers and food assistance clients, to be orchestrated by Daybreak Growers Alliance in partnership with Waldo County farmers.
2. Funding to food pantries and soup kitchens so they can buy non-perishable foods, sanitary items, safety materials, cleaning supplies,
and keep up on operating costs.
3. Support to gleaning, as executed by Unity Barn Raisers’ Veggies For All program, which redirects surplus food from farms and food businesses and distributes it through established hunger relief programs.
4. Support to gardeners, delivered by Waldo County Cooperative Extension, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, and MainersTogether Waldo County in the form of material, educational, and coordination resources, so they may improve personal food security, and possibly share with their neighbors or donate excess to hunger relief programs.

By doing this work through a collaborative, community-informed, and strengths-based approach, campaign also aims to: raise the profile of partner organizations at this time of increased need; hold space for cross-sector action planning that may foster new programs, prevent duplication of services, and bring new voices to the food security conversation; and share information about the solutions discovered with relevant local and state government and peer communities.

Parties involved in Waldo County Bounty efforts to date have included Waldo County Cooperative Extension, Unity Barn Raisers, Veggies For All, Daybreak Growers Alliance, MainersTogether Waldo County, Volunteer Regional Food Pantry, The Open Door Soup Kitchen, Good Shepherd Food Bank, MOFGA, WaldoCAP, Northbranch Farm, Songbird Farm, Villageside Farm, Fedcco, Johnny’s Seeds, Waldo County Garden Alliance, Mid-Coast Regional Reentry Center, Belfast Garden Club, Waldo County Food Pantry group (and the agencies they represent), The Lost Kitchen, Unity Kitchen, and Unity Barn Raisers (which is acting as fiscal sponsor). Individual concerned citizens have also been engaged at all levels of planning.

The campaign has raised $10,000 cash and $5,000 in-kind materials as of May 12 toward the $100,000 initial goal.

Those interested in supporting the campaign are invited to send a check to Waldo County Bounty c/o Unity Barn Raisers, P.O. Box 381, Unity, ME 04988 or visit waldocountybounty.org.

Volunteer opportunities also are provided through the same website. For more information, email Trunzo at [email protected].

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