JAY — Spruce Mountain Primary School Principal Michael Glynn told directors of Regional School Unit 73 on Thursday evening that the school’s Phoenix Food Pantry provided 26,273 pounds of food for students in 2022-23, a 5% increase from the previous year.

Glynn said he expects that number to go up this school year.

In 2021-22, the pantry distributed 24,907 pounds of food.

The numbers were provided by Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn, which partners with the school.

Feeding America, a national organization in Chicago that fights hunger, calculates that 1.2 pounds of food equals one meal, according to the Auburn food bank. Based on that equation, the school pantry provided 21,894 meals in 2022-23.

The Feeding America website notes $1 will provide 10 meals.


In 2014, art teacher Farrah Poirier wanted to start a food pantry at the primary school. Good Shepherd gave the school $9,000 through a Red Nose Day grant. In 2016, a produce giveaway was added because the need was so great. More recently, backpacks filled with food were sent home with students on Fridays and at the beginning of school vacations.

Glynn said after COVID-19, second grade teacher Penny Gould said she didn’t want to lose the food pantry and took it on. A few teachers help her distribute the food every week.

Prior to COVID-19, volunteers assisted with the food pantry.

“It’s a phenomenal group of teachers we have,” Glynn said. “This is something extra the staff does.”

“It is important to recognize all the extras our staff does,” said school board Director Elaine Fitzgerald of Jay.

Those interested in volunteering or donating money to the food pantry may call 897-3355.


In other business, Director Phoebe Pike of Livermore Falls, who chairs the Scholarship Committee, announced the recipients of the Marcia and Louis Brown Scholarship.

They are Matthew Fenlason of Winthrop, a sophomore studying sports management at Dean College in Franklin, Massachusetts, and Paris Howes of Jay, a sophomore studying elementary education at University of Maine at Farmington. They were sent notification letters Sept. 15 by Laura White, administrative assistant to the superintendent, Pike said.

They were the only applicants this year. Pike said the committee would like more next year.

The committee presents two $1,000 scholarships annually to Spruce Mountain High School alumni who have attended college at least one semester.

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