Monday, July 2, 2018

Advocacy Update


State Policy
The legislature continues its work to wrap up the 128th legislative session. The bill that the Food Bank had been working on, LD 173 An Act to Reduce Food Insecurity, which would have provided funding for statewide hunger relief services, died on the Appropriations Table. We will soon begin planning our approach for working with the legislature during the next session to support our mission.

Federal Policy
The Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill, which protects and strengthens the SNAP program, on June 28. The House passed a Farm Bill that would drastically change SNAP and cut benefits for more than 2 million Americans earlier in June. Now the two bodies must work out a conference version of the Farm Bill. They are expected to start conferencing the bill after the July 4 recess, so there will be more information to come later in the summer.


Agency Services Update


This section of the newsletter gives you important updates from our team. As always, please reach out to your local field representative, or anyone on our team with any questions.

• Food Safety Training. In May, we unveiled our new online food safety training and toolkit! Thank you to partners who have completed the training and provided valuable feedback. If you missed our communication last month that included details about how often your program needs to receive training and who needs to be trained, please feel free to reach out to your GSFB field staff. To view the food safety training toolkit, and to take the food safety assessment, please visit our GSFB website at: https://www.gsfb.org/food-safety/

• Expanded Hours Initiative. Please check your email if you didn’t see our grant announcement sent out on June 18th. We will be choosing five food pantries to receive $2,000 grants in order to expand their service hours by at least two hours per month. Applications are due by noon on July 11th!

• FoodKeeper Guidelines. Learn about the guidelines we follow to maximize the quality of food products: https://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/foodkeeperapp/index.html


• Agency Services Team Contacts: The Agency Services team at Good Shepherd Food Bank consists of our field staff based throughout the state, an administrative support position in Auburn, and the Agency Services Manager, also based in Auburn. Contact information for our team is updated and available on our website here: https://www.gsfb.org/help/partner-agency-resources/contact-community-partnerships/

Pilot Study Open

Dear Partner Agencies –
Good Shepherd Food Bank is excited to begin a new project aimed at improving service for people struggling with hunger across Maine.
As we previously announced, we are inviting food pantry partners to participate in a Pilot Study for the Service Insights Initiative. Good Shepherd Food Bank is seeking up to 25 partner agencies to participate in the Pilot Study, working together with the Food Bank to collect data at the local level about people being served at your food pantry using a uniform intake process.
Participants in the Service Insights Pilot Study will be provided with data collection software and any needed technology, training materials and ongoing technical assistance, as well as customized data reports for your agency prepared by Good Shepherd Food Bank to reflect our appreciation for your participation. And, of course, you will have full access to the data you collect!
The opportunity to apply for the Pilot Study is NOW OPEN. Please follow the link below to access more information about our Service Insights Initiative, and to fill out your application today. The link to the application will close July 31, 2018.  
If you have questions about this project, please reach out to John Rorke, Research & Evaluation Manager at 207-782-3554 ext. 1198 or JRorke@gsfb.org

Learn New Recipes!


The Nutrition and Education team is excited to share a few recipes created by dietetic intern Robin Pelkey with Iowa State University. The following recipes and videos highlight several TEFAP food items; the recipes can be printed and provided to patrons with TEFAP distribution and/or available at your food pantry. If you are interested in saving the videos to display on a monitor at your food pantry contact Courtney Kennedy, GSFB Nutrition and Education Program Manager at ckennedy@gsfb.org.

The recipe links are here:

Videos:

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a program of the USDA that was instituted to ensure that children residing in households with lower incomes continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.

During the summer months, Good Shepherd Food Bank and many other organizations step in with programming to fill the summer meal gap that children face.

Summer 2017 SFSP sponsors provided 754,063 meals to Maine children!

To find out where these sites are located, click on the link below:

https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks

Not able to find any meal sites in your community? Contact the Department of Education to find out how you may be able to support SFSP in future years.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Fresh Produce Is Popping Up Across the Fields of Maine!


We finished the 2017 growing season with distributing more than 2 Million pounds of fresh Maine product to our food pantries across the State and we invested approximately $700,000 into the Maine Agriculture Economy.  With the new growing season right on our heels, we anticipate that we will acquire approximately 2.2 Million pounds of fresh farm products and invest approximately $750,000 into the Maine Agriculture Economy.  This coming growing season, approximately 180 of our food pantries will receive fresh farm product directly from local farms in their communities.  We anticipate that the growing season will be bountiful and we will have an abundance of fresh farm product available when our member agencies place their on-line orders.  Some pantries have already begun to see some of the early crops such as lettuce and radishes from their local farmers.  We just received a small delivery of zucchini in the warehouse which is exciting!  The season really has barely begun so don’t be discouraged if you haven’t received any fresh produce from your local farmers or through your on-line orders.  It won’t be long now!  If you have any questions about the Mainers Feeding Mainers Program, please contact Nancy Perry at nperry@gsfb.org or 782-3554 ext. 1109.           

Partner Agency Survey Results



In this issue, we will cover the second part of the “Service Information” section. If you missed part one of the “Service Section” in the Spring issue of our newsletter, you can easily get caught up here!

Of the 162 agencies who completed the survey:
64% of them, keep sufficient stock of food to ensure anyone coming at any time can receive food. Many agencies distribute all perishable products during their distribution, but keep a stock of non perishable items.
Q31 How does your program typically manage inventory?

Q32 How many days of food does your program strive to provide for each individual?
A quarter of the survey respondents strive to serve each person in the household 3 meals for 5 to 7 days. One third of the survey respondents give out product based on what they have available and how many patrons they anticipate serving.




Q33 How does your program get food to homebound patrons? (check all that apply)
31% of agencies have a delivery program. The majority of agencies allow another person to pick up food for a patron that is homebound.


Q34 How often are the following foods available for distribution?
The top three items survey respondents reported as always having available are meat, canned vegetables and canned fruit.



Q35 Do you feel your program…
93% of agencies feel they have a reliable source of healthy and nutritious food for their patrons.
53% of agencies feel they are able to provide sufficient food for patrons with dietary restrictions.
95% of agencies feel they are able to provide a sufficient variety of foods to their patrons.

Q36 Please indicate which of the reasons below are barriers to providing healthy foods. (check all that apply)

More than a third of responses report no barriers to providing healthy foods.


GSFB Network is a blog for partner agencies of Good Shepherd Food Bank focused on feeding Maine's hungry.