Hunger In Maine

Statistics confirm that
hunger is not going away.

Ten years after the Great Recession, The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reports that 14.4 percent of Maine households are food insecure – a rate far higher than the national average of 11.8 percent. These new numbers from September 2018 show that the food insecurity rate in Maine is finally falling, but still hasn’t reached pre-Recession levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are people hungry?

There’s no good reason for people in Maine to go hungry. There’s plenty of food. The problem has always been overcoming the economic and political obstacles that prevent food from reaching those who need it. Ending hunger means solving these more systemic problems while, at the same time, doing everything we can on a daily basis to feed hungry people.

At its root, hunger is an income problem. Many people are hungry because they get sick or injured, a spouse or parent dies, or they lose their job or are unable to work. Unfortunately, these bad breaks happen all the time, forcing people to make painful choices like whether to buy food to eat or pay their rent or other living expenses.

Where are people hungry in our region?

People are hungry everywhere in our region. Not one community among all of Maine’s cities and towns is spared. That’s because hunger is as much a problem of working people as it is a challenge faced by the very poor and it’s a problem that affect both rural and urban areas.

Can hunger ever be solved?

Hunger in America can be eliminated. It will take both the public and private sector to join in a determined partnership to address the economic, political, and personal barriers that contribute to hunger. It will require leadership and a broad agreement that everyone has a role to play. In addition to individuals donating food, contributing money and volunteering to support relief organizations and service providers, we can also urge business and political leaders towards greater involvement in solving hunger issues.

How can I help?

There are many ways to help. You can donate moneyYou can donate foodYou can volunteer.

For every dollar you give, Good Shepherd Food Bank can distribute 4 meals to hungry people in Maine. We welcome your donations via check, or online with Visa, MasterCard, or Discover.

The Food Bank also relies on the generosity of over 200 food donors, including supermarkets, wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers, and others. Individuals and organizations also donate food through Food Drives.

With the help of hundreds of volunteers, Good Shepherd Food Bank provides food to more than 178,000 Mainers each year. Volunteers help in many ways, including inspecting, sorting and packing food at our Auburn warehouse.

How does Good Shepherd Food Bank confront hunger in our state?

In 2017, the Food Bank distributed more than 28 million pounds of food to local partner agencies that serve all 16 counties in Maine. These partners include food pantries, meal sites, shelters, senior centers, and schools. Together with this network, the Food Bank is finding new and effective ways to provide nourishing food and hope to our neighbors in need. Good Shepherd Food Bank is also working to find long-term solutions to hunger by engaging in advocacy, research, and strategic initiatives to create a hunger-free Maine.

What is the food bank's service area?

Good Shepherd Food Bank serves all 16 counties in Maine, from Kittery to Fort Kent. We serve more than 400 nonprofit partner agencies operating on the front lines of hunger relief in our state.

Do people who are hungry go directly to Good Shepherd Food Bank for food?

No. Our partner agencies – including food pantries, meal sites, shelters, senior centers, and schools – provide the food and grocery products they receive from the Food Bank to people in need in the community.