Good Shepherd Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief organization in Maine and distributes 25 million meals per year through more than 450 partner hunger-relief programs across the state. Including food pantries, meal sites, schools, and health centers that serve families and individuals who are struggling with hunger. We are continuing this work as Maine starts to realize the impacts of COVID-19.
During times of crisis, a Food Bank’s role evolves. Good Shepherd Food Bank’s role in a declared health emergency is to be a resource to the Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF), and Maine’s Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). These organizations have a comprehensive response plan to a health emergency, and they are responsible for organizing emergency relief efforts for Maine if needed, which includes food distribution.
As the COVID-19 situation progresses, Good Shepherd Food Bank staff is remaining in close contact with these groups, as well as with Feeding America and other state, regional, and national organizations, to stay informed and connected. Though the organization hopes there is no need to use it, the Food Bank has a documented disaster response plan for situations like this the Food Bank’s critical role in responding to the needs of Maine citizens, we are taking the following steps to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff, volunteers, partners, and the Mainers we all serve:
Creating a safe workplace for all employees, volunteers, and visitors by implementing and sharing recommendations from the National Center for Disease Control. Serving as a resource for our partners — food pantries, schools, and other food access sites — to share information and help them through any challenges presented by COVID-19. The Food Bank is staying informed and involved in federal and state policies related to increasing food access in response to COVID-19. Participating in weekly calls with Feeding America to understand the responses in other states and regions so we can apply best practices if needed.
Our distribution centers are open, and we’re taking precautions above and beyond those recommended by the CDC to be sure that we’re providing a safe working environment. The Food Bank could use your help now more than ever as we prepare for an increase in demand. If you experience symptoms of the virus or have been in contact with an individual who experiences symptoms of this virus, we ask that you refrain from volunteering for 14 days.
The organization encourages Mainers to check on their neighbors and vulnerable community members to ensure they have a plan for accessing food, medicine, and other supplies. Should Mainers need help securing food, visit the “Find Food” section of our website to find a local resource.
Good Shepherd Food Bank is prepared and ready to effectively maintain and deliver critical services during any disaster — including the impacts of COVID-19. We expect an increased demand on Good Shepherd Food Bank and its operations over the next few weeks; please consider donating to help us provide critical food access at this time. For more information and updates from the Food Bank, please visit www.gsfb.org/mainecovid