Midcoast police officers will be busy Saturday afternoon, Dec. 10, filling grocery bags with cans and boxes and food, loading it into their cruisers, and transporting the donations to local food pantries.
But it is not just law enforcement who are getting involved. Citizens who are also being asked to help fill the cruisers. One day only, Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Hannaford grocery stores in Belfast, Camden and Rockland.
If there was ever was a time that this matters, it is now. Food prices have increased over the past year by 9.5 to 10.5, even as much as 12 percent, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Some food increased even more dramatically; the price of eggs, for example, rose 43 percent.
And food prices are expected to rise by another 3 to 4 percent in 2023.
That hurts a large portion of the community, from young families with growing children to the elderly trying to scrape by on fixed income. Add to it all the rising fuel, electric and water bills, and many folks are living close to the bone.
The economic rollercoaster is affecting almost everyone, and this is where food drives are important.
“It’s hard times for lots of people, and this is a great way to help out,” said Camden-Rockport Police Chief Randy Gagne. “There is a need here.”
Rockland Hannaford, in conjunction with Rockland Police Department will fill the cruiser to benefit the AIO Food and Energy Assistance Agency.
Camden Hannaford, along with officers from Camden and Rockport police departments, will fill the cruiser to benefit the Camden Area Christian Food Pantry. Patrol officers on duty for this task Saturday afternoon will be Antonio Del Vecchio and Spencer Tooley.
Belfast Hannaford joins with Belfast Police Department to help support the Belfast Soup Kitchen.
Shelf stable food items as well as health and beauty and paper products, will be readily available for customers to purchase and hand off to an officer. Other food and monetary donations are welcome.
How it works is customers will choose to pay for any of the canned food and boxes that are now stacked before the check-out registers. They will take the boxes and cans – or full flats and sleeves of multiple cans and boxes, to the register.
There, the food will be scanned and paid for, as any other transaction. Then, the donations will go into the nearby grocery carts, all waiting to be filled.
Police officers will be on duty to bag and fill their vehicles with the donations, with the food drive ending at 3 p.m.
This community event is a great way to support local food pantries and show support for local police departments during the busy, holiday season.
“The need this year is greater than ever,” said Camden Hannaford Store Manager Bob Josselyn.
The Hannaford Help Fights Hunger campaign is going on across the state.
“With your support, Hannaford Helps Fight Hunger raised over $790,000 last year and has donated millions of meals to our local communities since 2007. This holiday season, it's more important than ever to end hunger in our communities,” the company said.
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