The Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program will open a satellite food pantry in a conference room at the Town Office.
Coming in mid-October, the permanent pantry will replace the Hunger Prevention Program’s twice-monthly visits to the Town Office with its mobile food station. The Brunswick-based nonprofit says the station serves about 30 families per visit.
Caroline Daigle, mobile and satellite pantries coordinator with the Hunger Prevention Program, presented the plan to the Harpswell Select Board on Sept. 14.
“Mid Coast Hunger Prevention has decided to phase out our mobile pantry program in Harpswell, as well as in Lisbon and Bowdoin, in favor of other options that prioritize choice and flexibility, and that align better with our other programming,” Daigle said.
While the mobile food station is available for an hour and a half every other week, the satellite pantry will be available 26 hours a week.
The Hunger Prevention Program will provide a refrigerator and chest freezer, as well as shelving, for the space on the building’s first floor, according to Daigle. Program volunteers will stock the pantry. The program also will accept food donations at the pantry.
The Hunger Prevention Program hopes the pantry “continues what the mobile pantry’s anonymity has started in terms of reducing stigma in accessing food resources by framing it as a resource that’s available for anyone in the community to use, not necessarily directed at any population in particular, although of course we hope to catch as many people as possible who could use some extra food,” Daigle said.
Harpswell Town Administrator Kristi Eiane said town employees support the change and are eager to help residents access the pantry.
As of Monday, Oct. 16, the pantry will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursdays.
The Town Office does not open to the public until 1 p.m. on Thursdays, so Eiane suggested that anyone who does not feel comfortable going to the pantry during business hours could do so at noon on Thursdays.
Other options include anonymous ordering and pickup in Brunswick, or pickup by a family member, friend or neighbor.
The mobile food station will be available as usual on Sept. 28 and Oct. 12 from 10-11:30 a.m. in the back parking lot at the Town Office.