REGION — The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on Oxford county residents in need of healthy food. The Good Shepherd Food Bank, Maine largest supplier to the emergency food system, is projecting a 40% increase in food insecurity and a 42% increase in child food insecurity this year in Oxford county alone.
A new project of Community Food Matters (CFM), southern Oxford County’s community food council that is best known for the Foothills Food Festival, has been created to help address this issue. “Foothills Foodworks” will be collaborating with the Oxford Hills Food Pantry and 76 Pleasant Street Restaurant (both in Norway), to pilot the project with 50 roasted chicken and potato meals cooked by the restaurant’s staff. The meals will be distributed to those in need on a first come-first served basis on Friday, July 10 between 9:00 and 11:00 am from the Christ Episcopal Church at 35 Paris Street in Norway. Some of the ingredients will be sourced locally and the Spoke Folks Cargo Bike Cooperative has offered to deliver meals to residents of Norway and South Paris that are unable to get to the pantry.
Foothills Foodworks is an effort to connect local restaurants and food pantries to get healthy food to people in need, while supporting and engaging restaurant workers and local farms. If the pilot is successful, CFM will be planning more frequent meal distributions, and collaborating with other pantries, farms, and restaurants.
Foothills Foodworks is part of an ongoing effort by CFM to move the western Foothills area towards an equitable, resilient and food system with access to healthy food for all, fair compensation for producers and food workers, and the regeneration of local farmland and farming communities. Recently, CFM has been working with local food pantries in Oxford county to collect data to help identify and address needs. The council is hoping for a great turn out and to continue meal distribution in the area as needed. For more information on how to support the project, or to arrange a food delivery, please call 739-2101, or email [email protected]