WATERVILLE — United Way of Mid-Maine is taking its annual sculpture contest and food drive virtual.

Local businesses, organizations and groups will collect non-perishable food and basic needs items, which they will use to build fun sculptures. This event is part of United Way’s Pantry Project initiative, and the food collected will be distributed to pantries throughout Somerset, northern Kennebec, and western Waldo counties.

Food insecurity is a significant challenge for families throughout the Mid-Maine region. According to feedingamerica.org, the food insecurity rate in Somerset County is 16.6%, and is 13% in both Kennebec and Waldo counties.

Food insecurity refers to the lack of access a family has to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. Families often find themselves having to choose between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods. Food banks and pantries work tirelessly to combat food insecurity in their communities.

“Families continue to feel the effects of COVID and are struggling to access basic, everyday needs,” said Bethany Drouin, resource development director for UWMM, according to a news release from UWMM. “Supporting our local food banks is one way that we can help mid-Maine families struggle a little less.”

The United We CAN sculpture contest and food drive will be held virtually this year, April 26-30. Participants will build their sculptures within their own spaces. The organization will upload videos and photos of the sculptures to their website, where the community can view and vote on their favorites.

Businesses, organizations and groups that are interested in participating can visit uwmm.org/united-we-can to register. To keep up to date on events and initiatives, follow United Way of Mid-Maine on social media @UnitedWayMidMe.

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