Food pantries head into winter with more demand than ever

SOMESVILLE, Dec. 10, 2020 – The Bar Harbor Food Pantry, which serves all of Hancock County, has seen an increase of 32 percent in “clients” needing food, or 800 households – an increase of 250.

“And we’re headed into our hardest season – January and February,” said Executive Director Jennifer Jones.

Unlike previous years where the number of households “tends to hold steady” with 40-50 increasing or decreasing, the pandemic has brought on the current surge in demand for food. The pantry is still feeling the effects of a “poor tourist season,” she said.

Not letting a crisis go to waste, the food pantry – like many businesses – has learned to alter its practices, offering “self choice,” taking orders and launching a “Fresh Food Fridays” program, a farmers market of sorts where folks may pick up vegetables available at the end of each week.

Cash donation is the best way to support the food pantry, of course, but Jennifer Jones said spreading the word would also be beneficial. The Bar Harbor Food Pantry was first established as an emergency agency for food in a Sunday School room in the basement of the First Baptist Church. In 1994, Bar Harbor’s six churches expanded the program and the pantry opened its doors May 19, 1994, operating in the basement of the First Baptist Church. 

In 1996, board member Marianne Barnicle, came to lead the organization as executive director. “She turned our organization into the non-profit agency it is today. She brought a spirit and enthusiasm to the organization that still resonates in its current supporters, volunteers and clients,” the pantry said on its website.

“The BHFP now had the capacity to purchase and store food. This growth allowed us to become a partner agency with Good Shepherd Food Bank (state of Maine’s largest food relief agency). The pantry also was able to qualify for government support of 5 free shipments of food each year from the US Department of Agriculture.”

Here are the links to the food pantry and other food banks on MDI. Please give generously.

https://www.barharborfoodpantry.org/donations/

https://www.opentablemdi.org/donate/

https://westsidefoodpantry.org/

http://www.commongoodsoupkitchen.org/

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