Community Connections - LYAC Fights Food Insecurity
After learning more about food insecurity within the Lewiston community, and the fact that 1 in 5 Maine children are food insecure, members of the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) wanted to step up and try to make a difference. The group recently learned about various local efforts and initiatives to address the need for access to healthy foods and has met with staff members from the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center & the Good Food Council of LA. Of particular interest is that the Nutrition Center food pantry, together with community partners, serves approximately 550 families a week.
The dialogue has resulted in LYAC establishing “Community Connections . . . LYAC Fighting Food Insecurity.” LYAC will be donating & raising funds to purchase foods the Nutrition Center isn’t always able to provide, namely tomatoes, cassava leaves, plantain, bananas, oranges, and eggs. As such, LYAC will have a table at the Center’s Friday, May 14th, outdoor food distribution center at 208 Bates Street, Lewiston, with a variety of healthy foods for individuals to pick up. Food offerings will be available from 11 am – 2 pm.
If anyone would like to contribute to the food purchasing effort, they may write a check payable to the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council and mail it to: LYAC, c/o City Administrator’s Office, Lewiston City Hall, 27 Pine Street, Lewiston, ME 04240.
LYAC Chair Hope Rubito notes, “Food Insecurity is prominent in Lewiston, in Maine nonetheless. LYAC sees that and we want to contribute in any way possible to help those in need. Lewiston is our community, our home, and seeing our community members struggling with something like access to food is saddening and we'd like to combat that in any way we can."
Sheri Blumenthal, Manager|Community Programs at the Nutrition Center, adds, “We are excited to partner with LYAC on their Community Connections initiative and grateful for their generosity and willingness to learn and share about food insecurity in our community. Hunger has been a long-standing challenge in our city and across Maine which ranks 12th in the nation for food insecurity, and was greatly compounded by the pandemic. The St. Mary's Food Pantry, part of the St. Mary's Nutrition Center, works alongside partners to provide a stable and reliable means for people to supplement their weekly groceries amidst an increasingly uncertain landscape. We have made a strong commitment to increase the variety of fresh produce we offer regularly and to include more culturally preferred and desired foods. LYAC's initiative will help us reach this goal."