MILLINOCKET, Maine – As much as 10,000 pounds of free food from Good Shepherd Food-Bank will be on hand at Peddler’s Hill on Thursday for anyone who needs it, including displaced paper mill workers, a Good Shepherd spokeswoman said Monday.
The Good Shepherd food mobile will visit Route 157 site near Effie’s Bakery & Catering, 551 Central St., at noon, said Clara McConnell, the agency’s communications manager. Anyone from the Katahdin region in need of food is invited to be there.
The figure of 10,000 pounds of food is less an estimate of the region’s needs than the maximum the truck can carry, McConnell said, yet the agency is aware of an increased need for aid in the region.
“In general over past few months we have seen a marked increase in need in the region and with the mill closing we know that it is a time of need in the region,” McConnell said Monday.
The Katahdin Paper Co. LLC mill in East Millinocket closed on April 1, idling about 450 workers and devastating an already staggered regional economy, which has never fully recovered from the September 2008 closure of the company’s sister mill in Millinocket. That left 150 workers jobless.
State and local government officials are working to lure investors to revitalize those mills by July 31, when mill parent company Brookfield Asset Management has said it will begin decommissioning the mills.
Meanwhile, ICare Ministries, a former Katahdin region food distribution point for Good Shepherd, received about 1,500 pounds of food from a U.S. Postal Service workers food drive held in Millinocket on Saturday, Pastor Herschel Hafford said Monday.
The 19th annual National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive also generated about 1,755 pounds of nonperishable food items for St. Martin of Tours Church of Millinocket, 1,841 pounds less than collected last year.
During the 2010 NALC Food Drive, St. Martin’s Food Pantry received all the donations, which represented slightly more than 3,500 pounds of food, officials said.