Culturally Relevant Food in the Hands of Mainers in Need

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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‘Culturally Relevant Food’ Day at Pantry is a ‘Wow!’

‘Culturally Relevant Food’ Day at Pantry is a ‘Wow!’

Starlet Moffitt, Joe O’Campo, Levi Shaw, Stephanie Moores and Wren Wakeman. They were packaging foods to get ready for distribution. They all work for the Mission.

CHERRYFIELD, ME — Megan Smith, Maine Seacoast Mission Community Resource Coordinator, gives yesterday’s “culturally relevant food” distribution at the Mission Food Pantry a big “Wow!” In a follow-up email, Megan said:

“What a wonderful amazing day. The partnership and camaraderie I saw today was beyond compare. We were able to serve the “culturally relevant food” to 105 families! Adding the number of families served yesterday for our regular day brings the total families served to 163. We are all exhausted but happy that we were able to fulfill so many requests.

“I want to say thank you to all the staff and volunteers from Mano en Mano and Seacoast Mission who made this possible. Without you we wouldn’t have been able to turn this around so quickly,” Megan said.

Learn more about the Mission Food Pantry.

Mission Teams with Downeast Roots Group to Share Resources, Work Together

Mission Teams with Downeast Roots Group to Share Resources, Work Together

CHERRYFIELD, ME — Director of Service Programs Wendy Harrington recently announced the Mission’s collaboration with a new group called Downeast Roots; “a group of local organizations who promote each other’s work, share resources, and work together on projects for the benefit of our community,” according to the group web site.

Other member groups are the Women’s Health Resource Library, Maine Outdoor School, TREE, Mano en Mano, and the Milbridge Public Library.

The purpose of Downeast Roots is to promote collaboration among Downeast area organizations in order to strengthen our overall impact. We are committed to fostering a strong sense of belonging while ensuring that our community is a place where people, their cultural identities, and the environment thrive. We draw on the strengths of our relationships within our communities to strive towards a deeper understanding of adversity and practices that build resilient and dynamic solutions to complex, modern challenges.