“Food gives us a warm hug when maybe we can’t get it anywhere else,”
Jourdan Simon, Amistad Food Services Director

The availability, preparation and consumption of food are matters that exist at
the very heart of every person’s life and within the fabric of every community.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, Maine was one of the most food
insecure states in the nation. Currently, almost 14% of Maine residents are
food insecure.

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In recent years, Amistad’s contribution to the well-being of our food insecure
friends in the Greater Portland area was the loving preparation and service of
hot meals, served at the diner within our Peer Support and Recovery Center,
then located at 66 State Street in Portland. We served thousands of meals
over the course of our years in that diner and provided numerous people with
opportunities to gain training in various food service roles. Every year we
provided a traditional Thanksgiving meal and Christmas day meal, each of
which were well-attended by our community members, who were seeking
both food and the sharing of a meal on days when the dual burden of hunger
and isolation would have been exceptionally heavy.

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Since March of 2020, our Food Services have been entirely focused on
outreach and distribution. We re-deployed all of our program’s staff and
resources, complete with all our long-standing commitment to nourishing our friends with food, respect, love and connection. We’ve done so with support through a CARES Act-funded block grant, partnership with the City of Portland, Cooking for Community and Good Shepherd Food Bank, and support from Developers Collaborative, The Salvation Army, and dedicated and brave group of staff and volunteers.

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Our Food Services programming is responding and adapting with the fullest amount of its existing resources to the ever-developing picture of food insecurity in Greater Portland. We are currently delivering 1,300 meals and food boxes every week, to hotels that are serving as annexes of Portland’s emergency shelter system, to campsites, and to hungry people and families with and without homes.

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Amistad is very actively seeking support to help us keep up with our
community’s food needs, which our programming has been working so hard to meet. The impact of our Food Services goes well beyond the critical value of providing food to those experiencing hunger, as our team also brings connection, compassion, and links to needed housing, treatment, and recovery resources to those we support.