Oakhurst encourages others to donate by matching gifts dollar-for-dollar
Hampden, ME –Oakhurst Dairy has pledged a generous matching challenge gift to Good Shepherd Food Bank’s capital campaign and is encouraging Mainers across the state to participate. Oakhurst will match donations to the campaign dollar-for-dollar, up to $50,000.
Good Shepherd Food Bank publically launched Food for All: A Campaign to Nourish Maine at a groundbreaking event on May 23. The $5 million capital campaign is funding the transformation of the former Bangor Daily News printing plant in Hampden into a 40,000-square-foot distribution center that will allow the Food Bank to more equitably and efficiently serve central, northern, and Downeast Maine. Of the $5M needed for the project, $3.6M has been raised to date from generous foundations, businesses, and individuals.
“Oakhurst Dairy is proud to support the Food Bank’s efforts to provide more nourishing, healthy food to our Maine neighbors struggling with food insecurity,” said John Bennett, president of Oakhurst. “Our pledge to donate 10 percent of pre-tax profits to organizations that promote healthy, active kids and a healthy environment is the cornerstone of our community involvement. Ensuring that Maine’s children and their families have access to nutritious food is a mission that Oakhurst shares with Good Shepherd Food Bank.”
“Good Shepherd Food Bank has been serving the entire state for more than 35 years by sourcing and distributing food to 400 food pantries, meal sites, and other ending hunger partners,” said Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank. “Last year we distributed more than 24 million meals—and we need to do more.”
New numbers out last week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicate that more than 14 percent of Maine households struggle with food insecurity—including one in five children. Maine ranks ninth in the nation for the highest rates of food insecurity and first in the North East. Mainers in central, northern, and Downeast Maine struggle with particularly high rates of food insecurity.
“We have a bold goal of ensuring that all food-insecure Mainers will have access to the nutritious food they need to thrive, when and where they need it, by 2025,” explained Miale. “This means at least an additional 10 million meals are needed—beyond what we and our partners are already distributing.”
The Food Bank’s single greatest obstacle to meeting its long term goal of distributing more nutritious meals annually is the limited capacity and location of its existing Auburn-based distribution center. The new distribution center in Hampden will feature three state-of-the-art temperature and humidity controlled zones, which will allow for short- and long-term cold storage of produce, a freezer for storing lightly processed produce, fish, meat, and other perishable products, and an area for dry goods. Enhanced cold storage capacity will allow the Food Bank to source more fresh food—including local farm purchases—for year-round distribution.
“There has been a lot of interest in our project since we publically announced the Food for All capital campaign,” said Erin Fogg, Vice President of Development for the Food Bank. “We hope that many Mainers will respond to Oakhurst’s generous challenge gift to help get our new distribution center up and running. Every gift will help, and will be doubled in power thanks to Oakhurst.”
To learn more about Food for All: A Campaign to Nourish Maine or make a donation toward Oakhurst’s challenge, visit www.feedingmaine.org/hampden. Individuals, businesses, or organizations that are interested in discussing a donation to the campaign should contact Erin Fogg, vice president of development, at 207-240-3029 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Food Bank purchased the former Bangor Daily News printing plant in 2015 and began limited operations out of the facility in early 2016. Renovations began this summer and are slated to last up to one year. Miale expects the facility will be fully operational by the summer of 2019.
About Good Shepherd Food Bank
As the largest hunger relief organization in Maine, Good Shepherd Food Bank provides for Mainers facing hunger by distributing nutritious food to more than 400 partner agencies across the state, including food pantries, meal sites, schools, and senior programs. Together with its network, the Food Bank leads a statewide effort to combat the root causes of hunger by engaging in advocacy, nutrition education, and strategic partnerships. In 2017, the Food Bank distributed more than 24 million meals to families, children, and seniors in need throughout Maine. Website: www.feedingmaine.org; Phone: (207) 782-3554; Facebook: www.facebook.com/feedingmaine; Twitter: www.twitter.com/feedingmaine.
Oakhurst is Northern New England’s leading dairy brand and has stood behind every glass of milk and product for 97 years. While the FDA states there is no significant difference between milk from cows treated with artificial growth hormone, Oakhurst made history in 2003 when it asked its milk producers to take America’s First Farmer’s pledge not to use artificial growth hormone. Today, Oakhurst remains committed to the wellbeing of its community by contributing 10 percent of profits to local organizations that support healthy active kids and a healthy environment. The company produces milk and other dairy and juice products from its headquarters on Forest Avenue in Portland, Maine. In January 2014, Oakhurst became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dairy Farmers of America, a dairy farmer-owned cooperative based in Kansas City, Missouri. For more information, visit www.oakhurstdairy.com.