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Stories from the Road – Freeport Community Services

Welcome to Freeport, Maine’s charming southern coastal region, renowned for its outlet stores, boutiques, and scenic beauty. Just a short 20-minute drive north of Portland, this bustling town offers a shopper’s paradise and a vibrant sense of community.

Nestled amidst the hustle and bustle of stores and culinary delights, lies Freeport Community Services (FCS). This three-house complex serves as a beacon of hope and assistance for the local community. What started as a humble effort by a group of caring Freeport residents who recognized the needs of their neighbors for necessities such as clothing, food, and heating fuel, has blossomed into a heartwarming institution that now offers a variety of services to meet the needs of the whole community.

Behind the doors of FCS, you’ll discover a world of compassion and support. It houses a nonprofit thrift store where every purchase directly contributes to the organization. Inside, you’ll also find a welcoming community center; a place to warm up and enjoy a meal or just forge new friendships. And that’s not all – FCS hosts a food pantry and several food programs catering to children, individuals, families, and older Mainers, providing vital sustenance for anyone in need. Their essential services extend to a transportation program and a medical equipment lending service, making a meaningful impact on the lives of countless individuals.

As a valued partner of the Food Bank, FCS plays a pivotal role in addressing food insecurity within their community. At the heart of their mission is the Vaughndella Curtis Food Pantry, a place where residents of Freeport and Pownal who are experiencing hunger can come for the nutritious food they need to thrive.

Sarah Lundin, Executive Director, shared, “The core of who we are is meeting people where they are and appreciating and celebrating that. Thank you. We couldn’t exist without partners like the Food Bank and our supporters.”

Walking into the Vaughndella Curtis Food Pantry is not just a visit; it’s a warm and welcoming market-like experience. Here, neighbors are greeted with various options, from essential shelf-stable items to the freshest farm produce. The pantry is designed to provide sustenance and ensure dignity and choice for everyone who visits.

Recently, in June 2023, FCS launched an exciting new initiative, the Summer Snacks food program. This program is dedicated to supporting RSU #5 students during the summer months when access to meals can be challenging. Working closely with families and school counselors, FCS curates snack bags tailored to the preferences and dietary needs of the children, ensuring they have access to nutritious food all year long.

During the academic year, the BackPack program benefits children in grades K-12 within RSU #5. This initiative ensures that students have access to nutritious meals even outside of school hours, fostering their health and well-being.

But it’s not just the students who benefit from FCS’s generosity. Every first and third Friday of the month, from January through October, the 3rd Friday Community Lunch Program springs to life. This remarkable event is open to everyone, regardless of where they’re from. Local professionals and dedicated volunteers come together to prepare and serve wholesome meals, creating a sense of community beyond food.

Recognizing that some neighbors face mobility challenges or lack transportation, FCS offers a home delivery program, ensuring that those who can’t visit the pantry in person still receive the support they need. Additionally, during special occasions and holidays, FCS provides memorable holiday meals to bring comfort and joy to those they serve.

FCS also has community gardens available for those interested in gardening or growing their own food. These gardens offer valuable skills and promote self-sufficiency and a deeper connection to food.

At Freeport Community Services, it’s not just about providing food; it’s about nourishing the community’s soul, one meal and one act of kindness at a time. The pantry is open Monday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., Tuesday 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. and Wednesday 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

With our partner agencies spread throughout the entire state, there will likely be help nearby if you need food. If you’re looking for help or interested in donating food or volunteering at your local food pantry, please visit our Food Map to find a pantry near you.

Good Shepherd Food Bank works in partnership with nearly 600 hunger-relief organizations, located from Kittery to Fort Kent, to help distribute food to community members in need. Our network of partner agencies includes food pantries, meal sites, senior centers, school programs, and healthcare facilities.