Every year, Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program distributes hundreds of Thanksgiving bags filled with nutritious and festive staples to families facing food insecurity. This year, our neighbors facing food hardships require even more support as they continue to navigate the pandemic paired with annual increases in heating and other winter costs.

Thanks to the support of countless donors, partners, and volunteers, MCHPP is poised to distribute close to 1,000 Thanksgiving tote bags brimming with fresh produce, dry goods and grocery gift cards to help ensure everyone in our community is able to have a nourishing meal on this special day. Bags were distributed throughout the month via our drive-through food pantry with the program ending on November 25th.

“Assembling all the components of the Thanksgiving bag program is truly a community effort,” shares MCHPP Executive Director Karen Parker. “Volunteers pack produce from local farms and traditional dry goods such as stuffing into bags donated by generous area businesses and nonprofits. It’s a tangible example of how much our community cares about lifting up neighbors in need of a little extra support this year.”

This year, eight area partners donated bags to enable the safe transfer of goods to food pantry guests. They include Anthem, Bath Natural Market, Bowdoin Art Museum, CAMI (Center of Association Management), Hannaford Brunswick, Lands End Gift Shop, and Shaw’s Brunswick.

To ensure that every client receives a variety of fresh produce, MCHPP leveraged purchases from its Farm-to-Pantry initiative, which was made possible by donor support and a grant from The Elmina B. Sewall Foundation. Each Thanksgiving bag will contain carrots from Crystal Spring Farm (Brunswick), butternut squash from Six Rivers Farm (Bowdoinham), sweet potatoes from Stonecipher Farm (Bowdoinham), and onions from Whatley Farm (Topsham).

Residents of the Highland Green community in Topsham raised more than $21,000 to help underwrite increased costs for this year’s program.“We faced some significant supply challenges as we planned this year’s Thanksgiving distribution,” adds Karen Parker. “Food suppliers from whom we typically source were struggling to stock their own shelves as the pandemic moves into a second wave. The extra financial support provided by Highland Green allowed us to purchase holiday staples like stuffing and gravy packets from Shaw’s Brunswick. We remain grateful to all of our thoughtful donors and partners who will help these individuals and families have a brighter holiday season thanks to their giving spirit.”