SCARBOROUGH — Hannaford Supermarkets announced today an expansion of its ‘Fuel Kids at School’ pantry initiative to Maine’s community colleges with a donation of $35,000 to establish and expand pantries at all seven community college campuses. The donation will be used for startup and buildout of pantry and storage spaces as well as food costs.

Based on research conducted with Preble Street in Portland, system officials estimate that at least 40 percent of students enrolled at the colleges are food insecure.

“This generous donation not only helps keep these food pantries stocked, it provides for freezers and refrigerators that will allow these food pantries to provide a range of food options for years to come,” said Maine Community College System President David Daigler. “Our students can’t learn if they’re hungry. These food pantries, many of them student-run, are a critical resource for our students and their families.”

More than $15,000 of the donation will be used to stock food with the remaining funds going toward refrigerators, freezers and renovations at five of the campuses. The Colleges will work directly with Good Shepherd Food Bank on preparatory and operational logistics, including food safety training and inspections and food purchases.

“By removing barriers and bringing food right to where people already are and through folks they already trust is such a win-win,” said Shannon Coffin, vice president of community partnerships at Good Shepherd Food Bank.

The donation is a part of Hannaford’s $1 million commitment to ‘Fuel Kids at School’ pantry initiative launched in November 2019 to establish 90 school food pantries across the northeast, including 30 in Maine. Since then, all 30 school-based food pantries have been established at Head Start preschools across the state in partnership with Good Shepherd Food Bank.

“With all the pressures and demands of being a college student, we hope that being hungry or thinking about where their next meal will come from is not one of them. It is our hope that Fuel Kids at School, at our community colleges, will remove a barrier for students who are trying to improve their lives and shore up their future,” said Sherri Stevens who leads community relations for Hannaford Supermarkets. “Hannaford has a long tradition of nourishing our communities. And, this donation is one more way we can be counted on.”

Hannaford has a long tradition of nourishing communities, including donating nearly 25 million pounds of food throughout the Northeast, including 9.7 million pounds in Maine. Earlier this year, Hannaford gave more than $1.3 million in donations to aid COVID-19 relief efforts to help ensure those in need remain fed and healthy.