FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — A business agent for the local Teamsters union said Monday afternoon that she was “shocked” by the mountains of canned goods collected during a statewide food drive that culminated at the Maine Potato Blossom parade this weekend.
“We collected 25,000 pounds of food and $860 in donations,” said Traci Place, the business agent for the South Portland-based Teamsters Local 340.
“I was shocked,” she said. “I was stunned by the food that was donated and the money that people just handed to us.”
Through its women’s committee, the Teamsters spearheaded the food drive to benefit Catholic Charities Maine in Caribou. Place came up with the idea and helped organize the drive.
A tractor-trailer left Kittery on July 17 and headed north, making several stops along the way, during which the Teamsters collected nonperishable food and monetary donations.
After Kittery, the truck stopped in Biddeford, South Portland, Auburn, Augusta, Fairfield, Newport, Hermon, Medway, Houlton, Presque Isle and finally in Fort Fairfield, where the truck participated in the parade Sunday.
Canned goods and donations were collected along the parade route by volunteers carrying canvas tote bags as representatives from Catholic Charities Maine rallied spectators for support. Volunteers emptied the hefty bags into the back of the open trailer throughout the parade.
“It was overwhelming. I just want to thank everyone for their support,” said Place.
The food and donations were taken to the CCM distribution center after the parade. The donated canned goods will stock 24 food pantries from Ludlow to Fort Kent.
Place said Monday that she already is gearing up for next year’s parade.