The collaborative effort between TAMC and Cary Medical Center to lead a region-wide Feed The County effort in May has yielded more than a ton and half of non-perishable food to replenish area food pantries.  The Hospitals Against Hunger food drive was planned as a part of both organizations’ celebration of National Hospital Week and is being hailed as a huge success.

TAMC

Dixie Shaw, program director of Hunger and Relief Services for Catholic Charities Maine said, “We are so pleased that TAMC and Cary have come together, not only draw attention to this cause, but to rally The County community to ‘together make a difference. We serve food pantries throughout The County and each month we distribute over 30,000 pounds of food to the pantries we work with.  We had a long and expensive winter in Aroostook County.  It was hard on so many of our people who struggle with food insecurity.  The tremendous effort by TAMC and Cary has greatly helped with this.  We encourage others who are considering similar food drives to get in touch with us.”

Laura Turner, who initiated a food drive at TAMC two years ago and has watched it grow considerably is pleased to see the two healthcare organizations working together, “My fellow TAMC team member Amy Carlisle and I wondered how we might assist the community to meet basic needs that we could see were going unmet. This year having Cary Medical Center join the TAMC team bolstered our efforts and gave us an opportunity to expand the reach of the project. The collaboration has been an enjoyable experience and has greatly contributed to the ultimate success of the effort.”

Kim Jones, who led the project for Cary Medical Center echoes that sentiment, “This was an excellent project for a Cary Medical Center and TAMC collaboration as it fit very well with both organizations’ missions to promote community wellbeing and improve the lives of residents in our region.  The energy and enthusiasm that staff and volunteers from both hospitals brought to this effort resulted in an incredibly successful food drive.  It was a gratifying experience to work together to help our friends and neighbors in need.”

In addition to all TAMC, Cary Medical Center and Pines Health Services locations, several area grocery stores and the two Aroostook Savings and Loan branches joined in the effort and accepted donations to support the Hospitals Against Hunger Food Drive.

On Friday, May 23, the organizations came together to deliver over 3,179 pounds of donated food to the Catholic Charities location in Caribou.

TAMC and Cary plan to partner on the initiative again next year, and intend to invite the other two County hospitals, Houlton Regional Hospital and Northern Maine Medical Center to join in the effort to expand the food drive County-wide.  The two hospitals are also discussing partnering on a similar effort in the fall to support the various animal shelters in the region.