Aroostook County –  The County’s four hospitals are joining forces with the region-wide Feed The County effort to replenish area food pantries in the month of May.  The Hospitals Against Hunger Food Drive will kick off on Monday, May 11, and continue through May 21, with numerous drop-off locations throughout The County where non-perishable food item donations will be accepted.

“We serve 24 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.  It was hard for us as well and we are now challenged with low food reserves in our warehouses and the need continues to be great for so many,” said Dixie Shaw, program director of Hunger and Relief Services for Catholic Charities Maine, the only food bank north of Brewer, and one of the key partners, along with WAGM-TV and Aroostook Savings and Loan, for Feed The County.  “We are so pleased Aroostook’s four hospitals have come together, not only draw attention to this cause, but to rally The County community to ‘together make a difference’.”

Houlton Regional Hospital, TAMC, Cary Medical Center and Northern Maine Medical Center officials have been working collaboratively to plan the food drive for several weeks.  The joint project is set to kick off at the start of National Hospital Week.

“We see this as a great opportunity to work collaboratively to help meet an important and urgent community need,” said TAMC President and CEO Sylvia Getman.  “One of the best things about living in The County is how we come together as one community to rally around a great cause.  Certainly ensuring that families and our seniors have enough food to eat is a cause we all should rally around.”

“This has been a particularly hard winter for many families in the County,” said Kris Doody, RN, CEO at Cary Medical Center. “Neighbor helping neighbor has always been a tradition here so we’re pleased to be part of this important collaborative project to restock the shelves of our regional food bank, which, in turn will provide much needed supplies to area food pantries.  We see these efforts as living out our vision of creating a healthier community.”

In central Aroostook all TAMC, Cary Medical Center and Pines Health Services locations, Aroostook Savings and Loan branches and other area businesses have joined in the effort and will accept donations to support the Hospitals Against Hunger Food Drive.  Many locations, in addition to all Northern Maine Medical Center facilities, are also community drop-off spots in the St. John Valley.

“As a healthcare provider, our mission goes beyond our four walls and extends into the communities we serve. Food drives such as this one are so important to ensure that members of our communities get the nutritious food they need in order to thrive. By collaborating with our partners across Aroostook County, we are able to pool more resources and support the work of Catholic Charities so they can be positioned to help more people,” said Peter Sirois, CEO at Northern Maine Medical Center. “We know the can-do spirit of the people in the St. John Valley will come together to make this a success.”

This is the first year Northern Maine Medical Center and Houlton Regional Hospital take part in the Hospitals Against Hunger food drive.  The first-of-its-kind drive was undertaken three years ago by TAMC during the medical center’s centennial celebration as a way to give back to the community that had supported the hospital for a century.  Last year the drive was expanded and became a partnership with Cary Medical Center.  Organizers across The County are hoping the expansion north and south will help feed even more families in need.

“Houlton Regional Hospital is pleased to join this collaborative effort with the County Hospitals in this important effort to fight hunger.  I invite everyone in the Houlton area to stop by the Hospital and contribute non-perishable food items to help those in need,” said Tom Moakler, CEO of Houlton Regional Hospital.

As part of the County-wide effort, the four hospitals will have a table set up to accept non-perishable food items at the Red Cross Heroes Breakfast, an event they are all supporting, on Wednesday morning, May 13 at the Caribou Inn and Convention Center.  In addition, special events are planned at each hospital during National Hospital Week (May 11 through 15) to encourage both employees and community members to join in the collection effort.

The Hospitals Against Hunger food drive is a partnership with the ongoing region-wide Feed The County effort.  That initiative is undertaken collaboratively by Catholic Charities Maine, Aroostook Savings and Loan and WAGM-TV.

For more information, including an up-to-date and comprehensive drop-off location list, community members are encouraged to visit www.hospitalsagainsthunger.org.  Locations where non-perishable food items will be collected as part of the Feed The County Hospitals Against Hunger Food Drive are as follows:

Drop Off Locations:

Caribou:

Aroostook Savings and Loan

Cary Medical Center

County Physical Therapy

Pines Caribou Health Center

TAMC’s Caribou Health Center

Fort Kent:

Northern Maine Medical Center

Acadia Federal Credit Union

Paradis Shop and Save

Sears & US Cellular

Quigley’s Building Supply

Fort Fairfield:

Kimball Community Health Center

TAMC’s Fort Fairfield Health Center

Houlton:

Houlton Regional Hospital

Madawaska:

Acadia Federal Credit Union

Mars Hill:

Aroostook Health Center in Mars Hill

TAMC’s Mars Hill Health Center

Presque Isle:

Aroostook Savings and Loan

County Dialysis Center

County Physical Therapy

North Street Healthcare

Pines Presque Isle Family Health Center

TAMC’s A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital

Thompson Hamel, LLC.

Van Buren:

Pines St. John Valley Health Center

Washburn:

Pines Washburn Health Center

Food Donation Drop Off Event:

Wednesday, May 13 – 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Red Cross Real Heroes Breakfast

Caribou Inn and Convention Center

 

** This information was sent to us in a press release. Feel free to email yours to newspi@townsquaremedia.com.