June 17 – 23, 2016Vol. 18, No. 2

Belgrade/Rome Special Needs Food Pantry

The Belgrade/Rome Food Pantry moved from the Belgrade Town Office to the North Belgrade Community Center in early November 2015.

Welcome to summer in Belgrade! The economic situation for many of our neighbors does not change with the weather and influx of summer guests. The Food Pantry is always operating, serving clients, distributing food and household items and ready to assist where and when needed.

The latest government survey shows that 16% of households in Maine, about 206,000 people, are food insecure. That number includes 24% of Maine's children and 23% of its seniors. Maine ranks twelfth in the nation for this measure of hunger, and first — or worst in New England!

The Food Pantry is always trying to be a visible but discreet part of the community. At the annual 4th of July festivities in Belgrade Lakes, we will have a table on Main Street in front of the 1830 House with literature and information about our efforts along with baked goods. Look for us, pick up information and enjoy some baked goods.

The Belgrade/Rome Food Pantry should be recognized as an essential component of town services provided to its citizens to promote and enhance the quality of life of the community. Nutrition is a key component of good health and quality of life and children and adults benefit from the food that is provided on a regular basis from the Food Pantry.

We can assist our neighbors only with the generous monetary assistance, food drives, and item donations from Belgrade and Rome taxpayers, schools, clubs, churches, foundations, government agencies, private businesses, and the 25+ volunteers. But expenses are ever increasing, along with the number of families we are serving.

In 2015 the pantry had 66 households registered from Belgrade (of those, 26 were new families) and 29 households were from the town of Rome (10 new families). Within those households, on the average 35 families, 107 clients each month, were provided with food and household items to last them a week. The Food Pantry is always busy, accepting donations of 9,100 food and other necessities and distributing 27,344 items to our 95 registered families.

Your food contributions are greatly appreciated. We have food collection boxes at both the Belgrade and Belgrade Lakes Post Office, the Rome and Belgrade Town Offices and the Center For All Seasons. Monetary contributions can be made directly to the pantry at Belgrade/Rome Food Pantry, P.O. Box 662, Belgrade Lakes, ME 04918 or by sending a contribution to Good Shepherd Food Bank, Auburn ME and designating it for the Belgrade/Rome Food Pantry. We are located at the North Belgrade Community Center, 508 Smithfield Road (Route 8), and are open Tuesdays, 9:00 — 11:00 a.m.