BANGOR — Last month, employees of Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center participated in the latest in a series of food drives for their Neighbors Feeding Neighbors food insecurity program. The “March for Hunger Food Drive” sought to collect both non-perishable food and toiletry items for patients and employees in need.

Through employees’ generosity, the hospital collected more than 1,300 pounds of food. Sorted into 70 boxes, each box contained enough food for a small family to access three meals, including pasta, vegetables and fruit. In addition, cash donations to support future food purchases were collected from employees totaling $1,275!

Studies have repeatedly shown that lack of food can have a damaging effect on public health. Food insecurity prevents far too many people from consuming a balanced diet, which in turn increases their risk for chronic disease and mental illness. Since launching the Neighbors Feeding Neighbors program in August 2020, medical practices have screened more than 72,000 individuals for food insecurity, identifying more than 2,200 who are unsure where their next meal would come from, providing in excess of 1,200 bags of food. Indeed, the power of the Neighbors Feeding Neighbors program is being felt across the region.

To learn more about Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center’s food insecurity program, visit northernlighthealth.org/emmcfood. Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation is welcome to do so by visiting northernlighthealth.org/foundation and click “Make a Gift”, select Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, and under Designation, choose “Food Insecurity Program.”