Each year, the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program distributes bags of festive and nutritious Thanksgiving staples to individuals and families facing food insecurity. In 2020, the program’s Thanksgiving bags allowed 655 families to access traditional holiday foods. In 2021, the program expects an even larger turnout from community members in need of food assistance.

This year, each Thanksgiving bag will contain a $10 Hannaford gift card, stuffing, gravy, and a variety of fresh and canned vegetables.

Program volunteers will fill reusable totes and distribute them via the program’s food pantry during regular hours from Tuesday, Nov. 2 through Wednesday, Nov. 24. Shoppers using OrderAhead may also preorder a Thanksgiving bag with their groceries.

This year, bags will also be distributed to participants in the Pantry to Pantry and Neighborhood Delivery programs in order to better serve community members with limited mobility or transportation challenges. As in years past, Thanksgiving bags will not be distributed via the soup kitchen or at mobile pantry sites.

Residents of Highland Green in Topsham hosted their Neighbors in Need drive, as they have annually for more than a decade, to raise funds for filling this year’s bags. Together, they collected almost $30,000 to support the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program’s efforts.

“There are many worthy organizations, local, national and international, that request donations — especially this time of year,” said Jane Berry, a member of the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program’s board of directors. “In joining this drive, Highland Green residents demonstrated how much they care about our neighbors in need.”

“Assembling Thanksgiving bags each year is a huge community effort,” said Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program Executive Director Karen Parker. “MCHPP volunteers, local farms and businesses, retail partners and donors all join together to ensure the success of this annual tradition and lend a hand to their neighbors during the holiday season. We are so grateful for the generosity that makes this program possible.”

The Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program offers dignity and empowerment by providing all members of the community with access to healthy food. Services include prepared meals and grocery distribution on-site, at local schools and at satellite locations in Harpswell and Lisbon Falls.

The program’s food pantry at 12 Tenney Way in Brunswick is open to all from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday and Friday,  and noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. The soup kitchen serves fresh to-go meals from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 12-1:30 p.m. Saturday.