In Bath and the surrounding Midcoast community, a network of nonprofits, schools, housing entities, city officials, state legislators, and volunteers are working together to ensure local people are fed, regardless of their circumstances. Organized in 2017 by the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust (KELT), Good Food for Bath serves to connect organizations with a shared goal of addressing food insecurity and inequity within the midcoast region. These connections have shown their true value amid the upheaval of the pandemic, with an unprecedented increase in unemployment and food insecurity resulting in a spike in demand for food security support systems. Good Food for Bath partners have been working collaboratively to swiftly respond to these needs and to make sure no group, from students to seniors and all those in between, goes unfed.
Since mid-March, the Good Food for Bath network has been having weekly check-ins, connecting by Zoom to discuss local food needs and distribution, and to share resources and ideas. Not only have these meetings allowed the group to stay on the pulse of local food insecurity, they have also shaped robust collaboration that enables collective action rather than disjointed efforts. Local soup kitchens and food pantries have adjusted their services to complement one another, group partners have shared food, resources, and volunteers, and grants secured by KELT have been used to respond to immediate needs within the group. While this coalition has allowed for Good Food for Bath partners to adequately respond to the initial influx of food insecurity driven by the pandemic, they expect the impact of COVID-19 on local food needs to be felt for sometime, requiring continued collaboration.
In times like these, the alliance and adaptiveness of organizations and individuals makes communities resilient as noted by Salvation Army’s Lt. Kirtsen Childs, “It’s phenomenal to be part of a group like this because they value collaboration and community over competition...I’m grateful that we can be part of this and look forward to continuing working together with all the agencies in Good Food for Bath, as we continue to collaborate, share, support each other, and our food insecure neighbors through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. If ever we needed this type of collaboration and community it is now, when resources are limited and scarce at times. The future is unknown, but I feel strongly that this collaboration will be able to weather it as we put community and collaboration first and foremost.”
As they continue navigating the uncertainty of 2020, Good Food for Bath is committed to working together to serve the community in the ways they need most. For those interested in connecting with Good Food for Bath or would like more information, please contact Maeve McGowan email@example.com or 207-442-8400. For a comprehensive list of opportunities to donate, volunteer and support local businesses, or for more information on food resources, please visit www.merrymeetingfoodcouncil.org
Good Food for Bath partners include: Kennebec Estuary Land Trust, Merrymeeting Gleaners, Bath Area Food Bank, Bath Area BackPack Program, City of Bath, Bath City Council, Age Friendly Communities of the Lower Kennebec, Regional School Unit #1, Bath United Methodist Church, Neighborhood Cafe, Bath Sunrise Rotary, Bath Rotary Club, Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, Salvation Army, Merrymeeting Food Council, LOCAL Garden, Bath Housing, Maritime Apartments, Bath Farmers Market, SNAP-Ed, Bath Head Start, Bath Area Family YMCA, Bath Skatepark & Teen Center, SNAP Match, Bath WIC, Midcoast Maine Community Action, and Midcoast Community Alliance.