A Native American tribe in Maine plans to expand its food pantry services as it responds to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians has received $900,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Indian Community Development Block Grant program to retrofit and expand a food service facility, Republican Sen. Susan Collins said.

The expansion will establish a food pantry, Collins said. She said the expansion is important for the tribe’s efforts to combat the pandemic, which has brought economic hardship to the community.

“This investment will help ensure that the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians can continue to safely provide affordable and nutritious food services on their lands during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Collins said.

The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and the Aroostook Band of Micmacs were awarded $1.8 million in HUD money last month, Collins said.

Story by Patrick Whittle.