Food Pantries At the food pantries, thousands of pounds of food are sorted, loaded, and boxed for individuals, couples, and families who subsist in Washington County, Maine, and the outer islands. The Mission’s food pantries are often all that stands between the pangs of hunger and a healthy meal.

Bread of Life Food Pantry, Swan's island
Bread of Life Food Pantry impacts low income residents on Swan's Island and Matinicus Island by providing food that sustains lives and keeps children, families and the elderly healthy.
In 2008, the Bread of Life Food Pantry became a Maine Sea Coast Mission program. An elderly person said, “I had to make a decision. Will it be food or fuel this month? Because of the Bread of Life Food Pantry, I can have both.”

Downeast Food Pantry, Cherryfield
The Maine sea Coast Mission Food Pantry is working in Downeast communities to reduce hunger. In 2011, over 398 households received food from the Cherryfi eld Food Pantry. over 50 low-income seniors are enrolled in the senior Food Bank and receive government commodities each month. Backpacks fi lled with food for the weekend are provided each Friday to 120 school children who receive free or reduced lunch and breakfast at school. In Washington County, nearly 60% of school age children qualify for this benefit. research has found that children who receive free or reduced lunch are more likely to go hungry over the weekends. During the fi nal months of 2011, requests for help with food almost tripled when compared to the rest of the year. In Washington County, many people living in poverty rely on seasonal work for their income. once the cold weather sets in, people have to make the hard decision of whether to heat their homes, buy their medications, pay the electric bill or put food on the table. The atmosphere in the pantry is a welcome antidote to the cold and dreary weather outside. Gena Norgaard, the pantry manager, and her faithful volunteers, Joan, Bunny, Melissa, and Joanne greet each person with a smile, ask them how they are doing and help them shop for food on the pantry shelves. Each month a family is provided enough food for 15 meals, and our goal is to provide food that meets their dietary needs and food that they would like to eat. During the summer, the pantry is filled with fruits and vegetables grown in the Mission’s Cherryfield garden or donated by local farmers. It is a different story in the winter when very little is available so, in 2011, the Mission built a greenhouse to provide fresh produce to the pantry year round.

To find out more about the Downeast Food Pantry, please contact
Gena Norgaard at .