ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) – One of the largest food pantries in Hancock County has found a new home.
Loaves and Fishes in Ellsworth is moving from its 1,200 square foot building on the Bucksport Road to an 8,000 square foot facility on Route 1.
“It’s like the difference between your closet and a football field,” said Michelle Clark, Loaves and Fishes volunteer.
They’re also embarking on a capital campaign for the first time in its history.
“We have been so well supported by our community for 40 years, but it’s time to move to that next step,” said Andy Matthews, Loaves and Fishes volunteer.
The funds are needed for renovation of a space that will increase Loaves and Fishes’ ability to provide food assistance to those in need in Hancock County and will have plenty of amenities, including a reception area and a private client consultation room, an important feature in the battle against the stigma of food insecurity.
“The idea of somebody being able to come into a space that feels welcoming and private just makes my heart feel warm for some of those folks that I’ve seen come in on their first day and be afraid or feel ashamed,” said Clark.
The goal is for the new space to be more than just a food pantry.
Loaves and Fishes will also be using the space to connect people with other services in Hancock County while offering a variety of classes with an eye toward self sufficiency.
“We plan to have a nearly 5,000 square foot community garden. We’ll have a ‘teaching kitchen’ in the back where we’ll be teaching healthy eating habits, food preparation, food storage, food safety, all of those kinds of things,” said Matthews.
They’re a firm believer in the old adage that if you give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; if you show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
They’re hoping to make the new space a living, breathing example for those that use it.
“The excitement is just how this is going to feel for those families. It just…it gives me goosebumps,” said Matthews.
For more information on donating to Loaves and Fishes capital campaign or the programs they offer, visit loavesandfishesellsworth.org.
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