Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard looks to expand its outreach

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — Food insecurity has become an increasing problem and Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard is attempting to do something about it in its little corner of the world.

Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard has been successful in reaching those with food insecurities and anticipates reaching more with a new schedule and a proposed new location. When the all-volunteer organization first started in 2015, it served around 40 families. At the last outreach, over 100 families representing over 200 individuals were serviced. That number is expected to increase in the coming year.

A note from Sue recently received by the Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard sums up the cupboard’s work. It is just one of many thanking the cupboard for helping address food insecurity in Piscataquis and surrounding counties, “I worked all of my life, so when I became disabled, I found myself ‘falling through the cracks’ – literally having to choose between heat, medications and food. Food insecurity is very real and very humbling.”

Clients typically refer to distribution days as “shopping experiences” as they come in and select the food they prefer. All food offered follows balanced dietary guidelines.

Currently, distribution takes place from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m. on the second and fourth Friday of each month at the Dover-Foxcroft Congregational Church. Wait time, which hovered near two hours in the early days, has been shaved to 20-30 minutes.

The board is attuned to its mission to provide quality food and commodities, with approximately 90 percent of its budget – approximately $1,850 per month — dedicated to purchasing and providing food. It works with Good Shepherd Food Bank, receives fresh rescue food from local stores in the area and partners through Good Shepherd with Ripley Farm for fresh vegetables during season and Piscataquis Regional Food Center for monthly herbs and spices. The Piscataquis Regional Food Center and Mayo Regional Hospital also assist with gadget drives, offering can openers and other utensils. Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard also provides toiletries and other sundries periodically.

Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard recently signed a memorandum of understanding to relocate its storage and distribution to the Piscataquis Regional Food Center at the former Agway building on North Street in Dover-Foxcroft. The food center is in the process of renovating the building to become a clearinghouse for area food cupboards. Good Shepherd also has a memorandum of understanding to use the facility as a drop off point for food it delivers in the county.

Statistically, about half of the qualifying recipients are from Dover-Foxcroft, and over 60 percent are age 51 or older. Its service area includes Dover-Foxcroft, Sebec, Sangerville, Atkinson, Garland and Bowerbank.

Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard seeks support from partners, corporate sponsors and individual contributions. Donations may be made by sending a tax-deductable check payable to Dover-Foxcroft Area Food Cupboard or a pledge to the cupboard at P.O. Box 141, Dover-Foxcroft ME 04426-0141. The cupboard also has an online presence at Calls or questions can be answered at 717-7529.

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