Heat or Eat?

iStock_000012494466LargeWell, it’s official – this is the coldest winter Maine has seen in more than a decade. A state official recently said that requests for heating assistance through the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are more than twice what they were a year ago at this time.

Prices for the two most common heating fuels in Maine – heating oil and propane – have both increased significantly this winter. Recent numbers showed heating oil up 27 cents a gallon and propane up 60 cents a gallon.

Fifteen percent of Maine households lack access to the nutritious food they need. During the cold winter months, Mainers struggle even more as the cost of heating their homes rises. Many people find themselves asking a very difficult question – heat or eat?

In a recent survey, the Food Bank found that nearly 60 percent of people who access food through our statewide network have had to choose between paying for food or paying for heat.

Good Shepherd Food Bank is working hard to get more food out our doors to our statewide network of hunger relief partners. In 2013, we surpassed 15 million pounds of food distributed for the first time ever. And a recent grant award from the John T. Gorman Foundation will allow us to continue our focus on increasing the amount of nutritious food we distribute through the winter months.

There are many ways you can help, too. Whether you make a donation, volunteer in our warehouse, or speak out about potential cuts to SNAP in the new Farm Bill, your support is greatly appreciated!

 

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