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Advocates for the hungry plan Election Day Food Drive

w-hungry-fooddrive

Announcing the initiative are (l. to r.) Pastor John Robbins of Hope Haven Gospel Mission, Bryan Dench and Darcie Beaudin of Skelton Taintor & Abbott, Erin Reed of Trinity Jubilee Center and Maureen Costello Wedge of Sun Media Group.

Local advocates for the hungry, including representatives of Hope Haven Gospel Mission, Trinity Jubilee Center, the Lewiston and Auburn school departments, and Lewiston-Auburn businesses, gathered recently to announce an unprecedented effort to reduce the burden of food insecurity in the area. Their goal? To turn election day into a day of hope by collecting 10,000 pounds of food in an Election Day Food Drive.

With nearly 20% of Maine children living in poverty and 208,000 Mainer’s suffering from food insecurity, the populations served by local relief agencies come from all walks of life, and they’re growing.

“We’ve gone from seeing 70 people every meal to now more than 100 or 110 people,” said Pastor John Robbins of Hope Haven Gospel Mission. “We’re seeing new faces all the time. This increase is really putting a strain on our resources.”

“Last month, our soup kitchen served 2,307 meals, and 1,949 people received groceries from our food pantry,” said Erin Reed of Trinity Jubilee Center. “Some of these folks are homeless or mentally ill, while others are senior citizens or working parents.”

Voters in Lewiston and Auburn are being asked to bring nonperishable food items with them to the polls when they go vote. All food collected will be distributed to Trinity Jubilee Center, Hope Haven Gospel Mission, and food pantries of the Lewiston and Auburn schools.

One of the business leaders behind the effort is Bryan Dench, Chairman of Skelton Taintor & Abbott. “In Hope Haven Gospel Mission and Trinity Jubilee Center, we are fortunate to have two outstanding agencies in Lewiston-Auburn that provide critically needed support to members of our community who face homelessness or food insecurity,” said Dench. “Local schools also work to alleviate these problems. By partnering with them on this effort, we hope to stimulate voters to come to the polls with a large amount of needed food. Our goal is ambitious, but we are counting on the interest surrounding this election and the good hearts of L/A voters to make it a reality.”

Employees of Skelton Taintor & Abbott will volunteer to help collect items at polling locations across Lewiston and Auburn. The goal is to have at least two volunteers at each polling location in Lewiston and Auburn while polls are open on election day. Additional volunteers are needed. For more information or to volunteer, contact Darcie Beaudin at Skelton Taintor & Abbott at 784-3200 or dbeaudin@sta-law.com.

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