Hunger on the Rise in Maine as Congress Considers Food Program Cuts

Hunger is on the rise in Maine. Over 200,000 Mainers are unsure where their next meal is coming from–the sixth-highest hunger rate in the nation, federal statistics indicate. In Portland today, USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon, Mayor Michael Brennan, and hunger advocates held a press conference to draw attention to the problem–and to the concern … Read more

USDA under secretary touts food programs in Portland, asks Congress to resist cuts

PORTLAND, Maine – A top U.S. Department of Agriculture official on Wednesday morning touted local summer lunch programs for schoolchildren and urged Congress to resist proposed cuts to federal food subsidy programs. Kevin Concannon – former commissioner of the Maine Department of Human Services and current USDA under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services … Read more

Portland City Council considers removing panhandlers from medians

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) —  The Portland City Council is considering an ordinance that would make it illegal for panhandlers to stand in medians. There are several intersections in Portland where people typically stand with signs asking passing drivers for money. City councilor Ed Suslovic proposed an ordinance that would keep those people off of … Read more

Lunch break for kids

WINDHAM – Laura Smith knows how hard it can be to stretch a fixed budget during the summer. Mason Stoddard, 11, and Nickolas Keene, 3, picnic outside Little Falls Landing senior housing in Windham on Friday. This is the first summer that free lunches have been provided every weekday at the Windham site for children … Read more

Emma Johnson ’14, a Bowdoin College ‘Community Matters in Maine’ Fellow Helps the Hungry

This summer, Emma Johnson ’14 received a Community Matters in Maine Summer Fellowship from Bowdoin to work for Preble Street, a Portland-based organization fighting hunger and homelessness. Executive Director Mark Swann, class of 1984, helped found Preble Street in the early 1990s, and this year was nominated for a Congressional Medal of Honor for his … Read more

Portland emergency shelters overflowing, no relief for homelessness in sight

PORTLAND – On the wall behind city Health and Human Services Director Doug Gardner’s desk is a classroom-sized whiteboard. On Monday, there were 10 high-priority projects, issues, and initiatives written on it. Five of them – emergency shelter overflow, a veteran’s affairs case worker at the Oxford Street shelter, the Homeless Task Force, a meeting … Read more

Food Stamps and the Farm Bill

The version of the farm bill that emerged from the Senate Agriculture Committee contains $4.5 billion in cuts to the food stamps program over 10 years. That amount is a small fraction of the nation’s spending on food stamps, currently nearly $80 billion a year, but would, nevertheless, be devastating for nearly half-a-million households that … Read more

Telling the Truth About Homelessness

Foreclosures and unemployment are pushing middle class and low-income Americans out of their homes, and emergency shelters and food pantries are seeing record increases in demand for their services. Yet some recent reports suggest that homelessness is not increasing significantly. This is due to both flaws in the data they rely on and the narrow … Read more

Citizens Tell Lawmakers: ‘Put Maine First’

More than 150 people from all over Maine brought a simple message to state lawmakers on Monday: “Put Maine First.” These citizen-lobbyists attended a legislative briefing organized by a coalition of groups working in the public interest and then made their way to the State House to have their voices heard. EngageMaine’s Ben Dudley: “In … Read more