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Funding Cuts Highlight Severe Need for Food Support

Federal funding cuts recently announced by the United Way of Greater Portland will have a significant impact on hunger-relief organizations in Cumberland County and beyond. The funding cuts are the result of a reduction in the amount allotted to the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) in Maine and nationwide. Other counties affected by reduction in EFSP funds include Lincoln, Sagadahoc, and York.

While Good Shepherd Food-Bank is not directly affected by the funding cuts, any reductions in funding for hunger relief organizations in Maine will have a drastic impact on the collective effort to provide crucial nutrition for Maine families. As government funds are cut, hunger relief agencies will have to depend more on the generosity of donors for support. Many organizations will look to Good Shepherd Food-Bank to help them acquire more food with very limited resources.

The sustained demand for food is adding an additional layer of difficulty for hunger relief charities. Food pantries and other organizations throughout Maine are reporting a continued increase in need for emergency food in their communities.

“Grants are drying up; donations are down due to the economy. Now is not the time for us to lose federal funding,” said Kimberly Gates of Bath Area Food Pantry. “Our client lists have doubled since last year and the need is greater than ever.”

In addition, prices for food and fuel remain high, adding to the financial burden for low-income Mainers and nonprofit organizations alike.

“We’re in a place right now where, as a network, we need all the support we can get.” said Rick Small, president and CEO of Good Shepherd Food Bank. “Whether you make a donation to Good Shepherd Food-Bank or you seek out your local food pantry and ask them how you can help – everyone has a part to play.”

Donations of food and money can be made to Good Shepherd Food Bank or to any of their 600 partner agencies throughout the state. For a list of hunger relief organizations across Maine, visit our Food Map.

For information about making a food or financial donation, visit

The following staple items are needed most: cereal, pasta and sauce, canned goods, peanut butter, canned chicken and tuna.

For statistics on poverty and hunger, media inquiries, photos, or interview requests, please contact Clara McConnell at (207) 782-3554 or

About Good Shepherd Food-Bank

The largest hunger relief organization in Maine, Good Shepherd Food-Bank provides for those at risk of hunger by soliciting and distributing surplus food to more than 600 partner agencies.  Since 1981, the Food-Bank has partnered with individuals, businesses and farmers to alleviate hunger and build community relationships.  In 2010 the Food-Bank distributed 12 million pounds of food to families and individuals throughout Maine.  Web site:  Phone:  (207) 782-3554. Facebook:  Twitter: