Covid brought many changes to Maine’s economy. Among them were a damaged supply chain, social isolation, and an upset in the job market. The Living Communities Foundation and many other nonprofits are working to ameliorate these challenges and help people to adapt to a new economic reality. Local philanthropic organizations such as United Midcoast Charities and SeedMoney.org are also stepping up to help nonprofits address issues such as food insecurity.
The Palermo Community Garden received a SeedMoney crowdfunding grant amounting to $1,665 which is going toward tools, soil amendments, seeds, and supplies. Between 380 and 450 pounds of fresh, organic produce is harvested every growing season, and this goes directly to the Palermo Food Pantry. The Living Communities Foundation provides space at the Palermo Community Center for the weekly Food Pantry, which is supported by Good Shepherd Food Bank and Hannaford.
Palermo is very fortunate that Wild Miller Farm, Bruce Potter, Field of Greens, John Bunker and Cammy Watts, and other small local growers also bring in excess crops for distribution to elders, the disabled, veterans, and those who have lost jobs due to covid. The Food Pantry provides nourishing food for 35 to 50 families per week. The Pantry is open every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to noon.
A steep rise in fuel and electricity costs, plus a breakdown in transportation of the annual produce-based fundraisers has also put pressure on the Foundation. A $2,700 increase in trucking costs halted the annual Vidalia onion sale, but negotiations are still ongoing to obtain New Jersey peaches for August. In the meantime, United Midcoast Charities granted the Foundation $3,675 to defray heating oil and electricity costs to keep the food pantry comfortable and run the refrigeration systems. This grant came at the perfect time, as oil prices were skyrocketing beyond $4 a gallon. The Community Center uses about 500 gallons of oil a year, depending on the severity of the winter, so this grant was extremely appreciated.
The Living Communities Foundation, the Community Center, the Community Garden, and the food pantry are all run by volunteers. Anyone interested in volunteering or serving on the board of directors is most welcome to call Connie Bellet or Phil White Hawk at 993-2294. Your donations of talent, energy, and service to the community are as appreciated as funding, and help our team build a more sustainable network of neighbors. The board of directors extends a big “Thank You” to all of you who continue to support the Living Communities Foundation.
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