The continued loss of good jobs in Maine means that many of our brothers and sisters live without steady incomes, forced to choose between paying for food, medicine, or other basic necessities. With so many families struggling to make ends meet, local efforts to help out with meals on important holidays such as Thanksgiving are important.
Sadly, the need only grows each year.
Solidarity Harvest, a project organized by Food AND Medicine and sponsored by the Eastern, Southern and Western Maine Labor Councils, is an effort to support and show solidarity with families in financial hardship by providing baskets containing the ingredients necessary for a complete Thanksgiving meal, all purchased from or donated by local farms and businesses.
Solidarity Harvest began in 2003 as a response to a landslide of mill closings that left thousands of workers without jobs. Since then, unions, farmers, faith communities, volunteer organizations, and businesses have come together each year to provide locally grown and purchased food to laid-off workers and families who have hit hard times.
Food purchased for the baskets is grown or produced primarily by small farms and bakeries here in Maine. Local sourcing provides families with high quality food, supports local farms, and keeps funding here in our communities, building a healthier economy for all.
In 2016, Solidarity Harvest distributed 1,300 meals to families across the state. More than 400 individuals, including former meal recipients, volunteered countless hours of time and energy to make this possible. (See 2015 Highlights for further details about the most recent Solidarity Harvest.) Over 120 organizations, including unions, churches and other non profits were involved in Solidarity Harvest.
Solidarity Harvest planning takes place all year long. The Committee meets monthly, and other work is happening throughout the year. Our critical time is “sort week” which is the week leading up to Thanksgiving, when thousands and thousands of pounds of produce need to be processed into the individual meal baskets. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also fun and very rewarding. We need your help again this year!
Many local organizations, unions, faith-based organizations, and businesses provide generous financial support to the project. To donate to Solidarity Harvest, click here.
For more information, or to get involved in the next Solidarity Harvest, please contact Food AND Medicine staff at 989-5860 or FAM@foodandmedicine.org.