She shared that over the next six years the building would be filled as we grew our food distribution from what was then 25 million meals annually to over 30 million meals to meet our bold goal by 2025. No one knew at the time that within six months Maine would be gripped by the COVID-19 crisis, and the shelves would be filled. As it turns out, the second distribution center opened just in time.
Three and a half years and millions of meals later, the Hannaford Center in Hampden is a vibrant and critical resource for the organization now operating at its planned capacity. In addition to the physical space for more food, the Food Bank modernized its inventory management system, committed more resources to delivering food to communities, and strategically partnered with new organizations like schools, hospitals, and regional food centers to get more of the right food to the right places, when and where it is needed. Volunteers flow in and out of the Hampden location, just as they do in Auburn, working alongside staff to pack boxes of food that contribute to the health and well-being of Mainers experiencing hunger.
Today, it is hard to imagine a time when the distribution center in Hampden did not exist, but it took time, resilience, hard work, and a strategic vision to make the facility and its purpose a reality. Kristen carried that vision for the Food Bank, sharing it with community leaders, donors, partners, and vendors. It was a journey of learning and growing that would only continue as the Food Bank soon confronted one of the most challenging moments in its history: the COVID-19 pandemic.