Culturally Relevant Food in the Hands of Mainers in Need

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Culturally Relevant Food in the Hands of Mainers in Need
July 28, 2020

In the wake of COVID-19, Good Shepherd Food Bank pivoted its operations and began distributing pre-packed boxes of shelf-stable foods to support food pantries in implementing low-touch distribution models. The Food Bank ordered shelf-stable food by the tractor-trailer load, buying products that are common to most Maine households—but we soon heard that our one-size-fits-all approach was not meeting the needs of Mainers of Color. Our product mix was lacking foods that were culturally relevant to Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities in Maine.

One example of the great work happening across the state with help from this fund is by Mano en Mano.

Mano en Mano works with farmworkers and immigrants to help them thrive in Maine. The organization envisions a more inclusive Downeast Maine where the contributions to diverse communities are welcomed; access to essential services, education and housing are ensured; and social justice and equity are embraced. Through the Food Bank’s Community Redistribution Grant program, Mano en Mano was awarded $10,000 to support the distribution of culturally-specific boxes of food….

With the funding, they saw the opportunity to partner with Maine Seacoast Mission, another local nonprofit partner, and Vazquez Mexican Takeout, a local restaurant. Vazquez quickly ordered food from Boston and Maine Seacoast Mission provided volunteer and logistics support, as well as space to store the food until the pick-up and delivery day.

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