- Good Shepherd Food Bank
The Good Shepherd Food Bank is a faith based
non profit organization. The food bankis located in Auburn, Maineand is the sole non-profit distributor of food in the State. It is also a member of America's Second Harvest, the nation's largest charitable hunger-relief organization, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
To provide food to those at risk of hunger by soliciting surplus food and distributing it to non-profit programs throughout Maine, and in doing so, to do the work of Jesus, who is The Good Shepherd.
The Good Shepherd Food Bank began in 1981 out of the garage of JoAnn and Ray Pike. The idea came from reading a newspaper article about another food bank in Kansas that started soliciting goods from the food industry and sharing it with those in need. First food donors included Burnham & Morrell (B&M Beans) and Snows Clam Chowder which was based in Pine Point, Maine.
Distribution of food to those in need is accomplished with the collaborative efforts of other non-profit agencies. In 1981 the GSFB contacted local churches and a few programs in the Lewiston-Auburn and surrounding area. As the quantities of food increased, they reached further, adding the Portland and Augusta regions. The word spread of what a great benefit the Good Shepherd Food Bank was to all types of agencies which feed needy people.
Initial funding came from a walk-a-thon held on April 12th, Palm Sunday, which raised only $6,000 but enough to continue operations. Donations of food were so plentiful, it wasn't long till the food bank had to be moved to a new location. Good Shepherd Food Bank moved from the Pike's home, to convert|3000|sqft|m2 in the old Continental Mill in Lewiston. Space increased to convert|7000|sqft|m2|abbr=on, convert|14000|sqft|m2|abbr=on. then 21,000. Yet this space was inadequate and inappropriate for food storage. After an extensive search, in 1987 it was relocated to convert|30000|sqft|m2|abbr=on. in a former food warehouse on Lisbon St., and several years later convert|10000|sqft|m2|abbr=on was added in order to handle all the food. Renovations were done and a freezer and walk-in coolers were constructed.
In 1988 it was noted that McCain's Transport was located in Presque Isle, in the northernmost county (Aroostook). The GSFB contacted them to inquire if they had trucks going back empty. They agreed to haul full truckloads of all types of food, including frozen foods, and deliver them to Catholic Charities in Caribou. Since 1988 many truckloads of food have been trucked to Aroostook County, at no cost to the Good Shepherd Food Bank or the agencies.
By 1998 the Board considered purchasing a building at 415 Lisbon St. Inspections of the building confirmed a section of the building was unsafe. The insurance company stipulated they could not use this space from November through April. Hannaford's engineering department wanted to assist in efforts to create a design for renovating the building. Through their assistance it became clear that the expenditure of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000 would not greatly improve the efficiency and ability to accept and distribute more food. The Board decided to abandon the site and to construct a totally new warehouse.
In July 2001, the Good Shepherd Food Bank had the great privilege of moving into a newly constructed warehouse, designed specifically for its operations. It has convert|53000|sqft|m2|abbr=on of usable space, with a height of convert|34|ft|m to accommodate larger quantities of food. The freezer itself will hold 12 trailer truckloads of frozen foods. In addition, the cooler holds over 5 truckloads of fresh produce and dairy products.
Expanding the reach of the Good Shepherd
Agencies two to four hours traveling distance away routinely complained that the distance posed major difficulties in their ability to get adequate quantities of food. The Food Bank addressed this problem to serve the entire state of Maine. In 1999 the GSFB established a distribution warehouse in Brewer which serves about 90 agencies in six counties. The Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation gave $250,000 to purchase a former ice cream warehouse with ample refrigeration, so the Food Bank could provide the same service to agencies in northern/Downeast Maine, as to those in southern and central Maine. There are a few areas and communities where the Good Shepherd Food Bank has not succeeded in establishing relationships with food pantries, and they continue to this day working to improve in that area of distributing food.
As of Spring 2008, the Good Shepherd Food Bank employs a lean staff of 30 people to manage it's average annual budget of $1.66 million used to gather and distribute millions of pounds of food to communities all across the state. Accepting truckloads of food every day requires huge amounts of manual labor. The Good Shepherd Food Bank relies heavily on the efforts of volunteers who contribute about $250,000 worth of labor annually, figured at minimum wage.
The Good Shepherd Food Bank site: [http://www.gsfb.org]
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