A $5,000 donation from Martin’s Point Health Care has enabled the University of Southern Maine to open a new food pantry location on its Gorham campus, where those in need can pre-order online and pick up their food and supplies in person.
“The economic insecurity caused by COVID-19 has impacted many of our students. A new location on our Gorham campus means critical food pantry services will be accessible to more students closer to where they live," said USM Dean of Students Rodney Mondor. "Martin’s Point has been an invaluable friend to the University over the years–and a hero during the pandemic. They are helping our students stay focused on their studies by providing peace of mind to those worried about their next meal.”
“As a health care organization, we see the dire impact food insecurity has on our community, especially during the pandemic. Students—who are often challenged to balance the costs of food, housing, and other essentials at the best of times—are a particularly vulnerable group. One of the most direct impacts we can have on their health, well-being, and, frankly, on their education, is to help provide access to a reliable source of no-cost, nutritious food. Supporting the opening of the Gorham Campus Food Pantry was one very tangible way we could help,” said Dr. David Howes, Martin’s Point President and CEO.
Martin’s Point Health Care, a longtime partner with the University, has supported the well-being of USM students in many ways during the pandemic. The $5,000 gift that launched the Gorham Campus Food Pantry is part of a larger $20,000 commitment made earlier in the spring when COVID-19 shut down the USM campus. Over the summer, USM worked on a logistical plan for the Gorham Food Pantry and it opened in September.
“When COVID closed our campuses, our friends at Martin’s Point immediately recognized that many USM students were struggling to meet essential needs like food, rent, and medical treatment. They stepped up with a significant $10,000 contribution to the Student Emergency Fund, a fund they helped establish in 2019, and which has aided an unprecedented number of students in 2020,” said USM Foundation President and CEO Ainsley Wallace.
Martin’s Point also made a gift of $2,500 to support the Senior College at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College (LAC). The money helped purchase IT equipment and support that will enable them to offer their classes to more seniors online as a way to help tackle the senior isolation challenge.
Martin’s Point Health Care has planned an employee food drive during November to help keep the USM Campus Food Pantry shelves stocked with food and supplies. Food Pantry offerings include ready-to-make meals, packaged food and kitchen staples, personal care items, fresh produce and more. The USM Portland and Gorham Campus Food Pantries operate on a self-assessed need basis. There are no eligibility requirements.
Students who wish to pick up food and supplies at the new Lower Brooks Food Pantry in Gorham need to pre-order online by Monday for same-week pick-up from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday. The Portland Campus Food Pantry, which will be moving to a new location at 102 Bedford St., is open for both pre-order pick-up and in-person shopping on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
For more information on the USM Campus Food Pantry, including hours of operation and pre-order forms, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the USM Food Pantry website, where you can also make a gift to the Campus Food Pantry Fund.
Photo caption: Photographed at the USM Campus Food Pantry in Portland are (L-R, Front Row) Madeleine Lutts ’20, USM Graduate Assistant; Liz Trudel ’21, food pantry volunteer; (L-R, Back Row) Russ Phillips, Manager, Marketing & Community Engagement, Martin’s Point Health Care; Tracy Rayner, Patient Service Representative at Gorham Health Care Center, Martin’s Point Health Care; and David Roussel, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs.