Archive for the ‘Nutrition Center of Maine’ Category

An Easy Way to Give to the St. Mary’s Food Pantry

Monday, February 1st, 2016

You can donate your returnable to any Rooper’s location to benefit the St. Mary’s Food Pantry! Just drop off your cans and bottles and ask them to credit the St. Mary’s Food Pantry account. Then, Rooper’s will tally it up and periodically send the Pantry a check. Did you know that the Pantry can often buy food for 16 cents per pound, or even as little as 8 cents per pound for fruits and veggie through Good Shepherd Food Bank. We can make a little go a long way – every little bit counts!
Here are the Rooper’s locations in Lewiston/Auburn: http://www.roopersbeverage.com/locations.htm

Thank you for your support!

Help Us Pack the Bus for the Hungry

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Volunteers from St. Mary’s Food Pantry will be at Shaw’s in Lewiston and Auburn on Saturday, Nov. 21, from 9 AM to      3 PM, to collect non-perishable food items to PACK THE BUS!  They hope to fill an entire school bus as each location as part of their pre-Thanksgiving food drive.  Residents can stop in at the Shaw’s on East Ave. in Lewiston or Center St. in Auburn to help neighbors in need by making a food or monetary donation.

For the past few years, the Pantry has been focusing more on healthy foods and especially, healthy snacks and lunch items for kids.  Good donation choices include peanut butter, canned tuna and chicken, whole grain crackers and pasta, raisins and other dried fruits, and non-sugary cereals.  The Pantry is also looking for items to help fill Thanksgiving boxes – stuffing and gravy would be most helpful.  St. Mary’s Food Pantry regularly serves approximately 375 people per week, and expects to serve approximately 250 families during the 3 days before Thanksgiving.

In addition to members of the Food Pantry Advisory Committee and other long-time and new volunteers that help staff the event, Lewiston High School’s JROTC Cadets will help at each Shaw’s location, and Wolfpack Fitness members will help unload all the donated food at the end of the day.

The goal of St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, located in downtown Lewiston, is to promote community health through its food pantry, cooking and nutrition education, youth development, and urban gardening programs.  More information about the Center’s work can be found at www.stmarysnutritioncenter.org.

 

Good Food Bus Hits the Road in Lewiston-Auburn Area

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015
Pictured left to right: Kirsten Walter, Director of St. Mary's Nutrition Center, Emily Horton, representing Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Stephanie Aquilina Food Access Program Manager for Cultivating Community, Sherie Blumenthal, Food Access Coordinator St. Mary's Nutrition Center, Mayor of Auburn, Jonathan LaBonte,  Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation President, Karen Voci, and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Vice President, Edward Kane.

Pictured left to right: Kirsten Walter, Director of St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, Emily Horton, representing Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, Stephanie Aquilina Food Access Program Manager for Cultivating Community, Sherie Blumenthal, Food Access Coordinator St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, Mayor of Auburn, Jonathan LaBonte, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation President, Karen Voci, and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Vice President, Edward Kane.

At the Police Athletic League (PAL) Center this afternoon, state and local officials joined St. Mary’s Nutrition Center of Lewiston, Cultivating Community of Portland, and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation to launch the Good Food Bus – a colorful, repurposed school bus turned mobile food market. The Good Food Bus, part of the three-year initiative, Good Food Moves, will make stops across Lewiston-Auburn and surrounding communities thanks to a $60,000 grant from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. The 2015 season of the Good Food Bus will run through October 30th; it will resume next spring.

“At Harvard Pilgrim, we know that health prevention often starts with the food we eat, and for some, accessing healthy and affordable fruits and vegetables can be challenging,” said Karen Voci, President of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. “Across the country, organizations are using mobile markets to increase access to fresh and local fruits and vegetables. Here in New England, Harvard Pilgrim is launching a fleet of mobile markets to address this challenge and create better access to healthy food.” In addition to the Good Food Bus, Harvard Pilgrim has funded mobile markets in Worcester, Mass., Hartford, Conn., Lowell, Mass., and is preparing to launch a market in Manchester, N.H. in 2016.

“Starting today, the Good Food Bus will sell fresh, local and fairly priced produce and other food items directly to people where they live, work and play,” said Kirsten Walter, Director of the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, as she kicked off the event. “Increasing the availability and accessibility of healthy food to everyone in our community is a very important goal of the Good Food Bus. We are thrilled to work with close partners, passionate area businesses, and community members to make this a lasting resource.”

During the initial phase for the 2015 harvest season, the Good Food Bus will make the following scheduled stops through the month of October. Stops are open to the public except for the Bath Iron Works location.

Wednesdays
12-2pm: PAL Center, 24 Chestnut Street, Auburn
3-5pm: Knox Street Community Garden, 61 Knox St., Lewiston

Thursdays
11am-1pm: Bath Iron Works, West Gate (not open to the public)
3:30-5:30pm: Central Maine Medical Center, 300 Main St., location TBD, Lewiston

Fridays
12:30-2:30pm: Bedard Pharmacy and Medical Supply, 359 Minot Ave., Auburn
3:30-5:30pm: St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center, 100 Campus Ave. by parking lot A, Lewiston

Good Food Bus_0001

While not able to attend the event in person, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree sent a statement through staffer Emily Horton, stating, “I love this idea. Maine is lucky to have so many great farmers markets around the state, but that doesn’t mean everyone has access or can afford it. Bringing healthy and affordable food grown right here in Maine to communities in Androscoggin is a great way to make sure everyone has access to a farmers market without actually going to one. And even better if it can accept EBT and other market incentives that provide more options for low-income Mainers. I can’t wait to see the Good Food Bus in action.”

Walter explained the genesis and goals of the project by referencing a Community Food Assessment conducted by the Good Food Council of Lewiston-Auburn (GFCLA) and published in 2013.

“This report found that healthy food remains out of reach for many people in Lewiston-Auburn and other studies have shown this to be true for people across the state,” said Walter. “This multi-year initiative will make scheduled stops at neighborhoods, organizations, and businesses serving the Lewiston/Auburn community and will make purchasing good food convenient and easy for all.”

Sherie Blumenthal, project lead for the Nutrition Center, explained that the Good Food Bus will accept cash, credit, debit, WIC, and SNAP/EBT at every stop and increase the purchasing power of SNAP benefits for people to bring more fresh fruits and vegetables into their homes.

Auburn Mayor, Jonathan LaBonte, highlighted the City of Auburn’s support for projects that serve the community. “While it may be invisible to many residents, too many families and young people in our community are starting their days and going to bed hungry. I’m proud of the private, and public, partnerships that are working to expand access to good food while at the same time improving quality of life in our city.” Harvard Pilgrim is also supporting development of a community garden on Webster St. in Auburn, in the same neighborhood as the PAL Center.

“The goal is that the Good Food Bus will not only be a bountiful market, but also a fun place for people to connect,” said Stephanie Aquilina, project lead for Cultivating Community.

“Having access to great, nutritious food is of course critical to community health,” remarked Craig Lapine, Cultivating Community Executive Director. “And we are always particularly interested in strategies that involve local farmers and purveyors. That’s because a robust food economy amplifies all the great community health impacts of good food.” Indeed, the Good Food Bus will have a strong local foods preference, with many products from Androscoggin County farms and around the region.

In addition to Harvard Pilgrim support, other generous donations are helping to make this project possible. The bus was donated by the William H. Jordan Farm of Cape Elizabeth, and Hudson Bus Lines is donating bus driver services for the project. Grants from the Quimby Family Foundation and the John T. Gorman Foundation have been instrumental in getting the Good Food Bus on the road, and a Community Food Projects grant from the USDA will support staffing and food sourcing for the next three years.

The event culminated with a raffle drawing and Mayor LaBonte and Karen Voci cutting the ribbon and officially opening the Good Food Bus for customers to buy good food.

To learn more about the project, visit www.facebook.com/GoodFoodBus, email goodfoodmoves@gmail.com, or call St. Mary’s Nutrition Center at 207-513-3848.

The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation
Created in 1980, The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim’s mission to improve the quality and value of health care for the people and communities we serve. The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation provides the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. In 2014, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded close to $2.9 million in grants to nearly 710 nonprofit organizations in the region. Since its inception in 1980, the Foundation has granted more than $133 million in funds throughout the four states. For more information, please visit www.harvardpilgrim.org/foundation.

St. Mary’s Nutrition Center
St. Mary’s Nutrition Center was founded by St. Mary’s Health System in Lewiston in 2006 to promote community health through organizing, advocacy and education across the Androscoggin County area. Based on the belief that good health relies upon access to healthy food, the Nutrition Center uses a multi-pronged public health approach: building individual capacity for people to grow, choose and cook nutritious foods; and building community capacity to support a strong regional food system. Core programming includes hands-on cooking, gardening, and nutrition education for all ages; community gardens for over 120 families of low-income; intensive job training programs for over 50 teens per year; year-round farmers’ markets; emergency food distribution 375 people weekly; and collaborative, community based assessment and planning activities. For more information, please visit: www.stmarysnutritioncenter.org.

Cultivating Community
Founded in 2001, Cultivating Community creates and sustains greater access to healthy, local foods; empowers people to play many roles in restoring the local, sustainable food system; and models, teaches, and advocates for ecological food production. With farming, teaching, & learning sites in Cumberland and Androscoggin Counties, Cultivating Community in collaboration with participant/leaders each year grows, harvests, and distributes $200,000 in food; provides training for over 1,000 youth; creates food access for over 4,000 people with low/middle incomes; and in 2015 is supporting 60 new American families in establishing independent farm businesses. For more information, please visit: www.cultivatingcommunity.org.

Youth Lead St. Mary’s Nutrition Center’s Annual Community Dinner

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

More than 100 community members, staff, youth, volunteers, supporters, and gardeners, attended the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center’s Annual Community Dinner on Thursday, August 13, to celebrate all the hard work and community service that has been accomplished this growing season.  This annual dinner highlights the Nutrition Center’s Lots to Gardens program; attendees included the Youth Gardeners and their families, some of the 120 families that garden in the community garden plots in downtown Lewiston, and others who have participated in or supported the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, Lots to Gardens, and the St. Mary’s Food Pantry over the year.

The evening was orchestrated by the Youth Interns and Summer Youth Gardeners (SYGs).  Much of the menu was locally grown and developed and prepared from scratch by the SYGs.  It also reflected diverse culinary tastes, includingsambusa, Indonesian fried rice, Thai beef salad, cucumber salad, Asian slaw, Moroccan carrot salad, sesame green beans, baba ganoush, African greens, and beet brownies. Youth Interns,

Community Gardener, Carolyn Messer, won the veggie basket door prize at the recent Annual Community Dinner held by St. Mary’s Nutrition Center.

Community Gardener, Carolyn Messer, won the veggie basket door prize at the recent Annual Community Dinner held by St. Mary’s Nutrition Center.

Mohamed Abdullahi, Julian Marley, and Hafsa Ahmed guided the group of SYGs in a short presentation about their summer experience in the program.  The presentation included some original poetry and drumming.  True to the Nutrition Center’s mission, the door prize, won by Community Gardener Carolyn Messer, was a basket of fresh veggies from the Nutrition Center’s Community Gardens.

The Nutrition Center’s Lots to Gardens youth programs are open to Lewiston/Auburn area youth between the ages of 14-18.  Through the program, youth get job training and experience, learn about gardening, nutrition, and cooking, and participate in leadership development and food justice workshops.  Youth programs are supported by generous donations from area individuals and businesses.  Sponsoring one youth position for $1,200 is a great way to give back and engage a young person in developing lifelong healthy habits and becoming an agent of change in their community.  Interested individuals can contact Nutrition Center staff for more information.

The St. Mary’s Nutrition Center promotes community health through organizing, advocacy, and education.  It is home to the St. Mary’s Food Pantry, Lots to Gardens, Lewiston Farmers’ Market, and garden, cooking, and nutrition education programs for adults, teens, and kids.  For more information, please see www.stmarysnutritioncenter.org or call 207-513-3848.

 

 

Sam’s Restaurants Support Local Food Pantries

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Sam's Cornucopia Winning Store 2014Sam’s restaurants in Maine raised $6,400 to support local food pantries. Each fall, employees at thirteen Sam’s Italian Sandwich Shops ask if they would like to purchase paper cornucopias for $1 to help end hunger. The restaurant location that sells the most cornucopias wins prizes from Sam’s and other area businesses as a thank you. Environmental Remediation, a local business, made a significant contribution to the St. Mary’s Food Pantry as part of this effort.

This year Sam’s Sabattus Street location in Lewiston raised the most money. Mary Ellingwood from St. Mary’s Development Department presented a plaque noting the achievement to David MacArthur, Manager of the Sam’s Sabattus Street location.

9th Annual Chefs Soirée a Success

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

St. Mary’s Health System’s Nutrition Center held the 9th Annual Chefs Soirée, Exploring Our Roots, earlier this month. The event was inspired by the 125th anniversary of St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center and the 15th anniversary of the Nutrition Center’s Lots to Gardens program. Courses throughout the evening featured root vegetables and other culinary delights from local farms and producers.

Chef Paul Landry of Fish Bones American Grill, Cody LaMontagne, co-founder of Forage Market, Karen Bolduc of South Auburn Organic Farm and Gerry Walsh of Forage Market educated and entertained guests with their collective knowledge and great food.

Paul Drowns, the Nutrition Center's  Community Cooking Educator (left) and Fiston Mubalama Lowitiwiya, a Nutrition Center Fellow (right), share their culinary expertise with guests of the 9th Annual Chefs Soirée at the St. Mary's Nutrition Center.

Paul Drowns, the Nutrition Center’s Community Cooking Educator (left) and Fiston Mubalama Lowitiwiya, a Nutrition Center Fellow (right), share their culinary expertise with guests of the 9th Annual Chefs Soirée at the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center.

Sarah Spring of Spring Day Creamery in Durham and Pat O’Brien of Fiore Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars in Freeport offered samples of their product for tasting. A display of recently harvested vegetables and flowers from 4 Season Farm Market in New Auburn gave the Nutrition Center a market atmosphere. The Nutrition Center’s Community Cooking Educator, Paul Drowns, and Fiston Mubalama Lowitiwiya, a Nutrition Center Fellow, set up the Center’s bicycle cart kitchen outside and served Beet Carpaccio with Caramelized Onion Marmalade.

The four course meal featured roasted butternut squash, beet and goat cheese galette with a salad made with South Auburn Organic Farm’s mixed greens and Spring Day Creamery’s award winning blue cheese and warm apple cider dressing. Chicken kebobs with Ricker Hill Farm’s apples, and turnips were served with mushrooms (Maine forged) risotto and Fiore’s Wild Mushroom & Sage Olive Oil. The third course featured North Star Sheep Farm grilled lamb burgers topped with Pineland Farm’s feta cheese and greens drizzled with a mint chimichurri aioli and served with salad nicoise. Gerry Walsh of Forage Market created a Chocolate Torte made simply with eggs, chocolate and cream to finish off the evening.

Susan Hall of The Vault, a specialty wine and craft beer shop in Lewiston pared each course with wine. Baxter Beer of Lewiston donated four varieties of craft beers to the evening’s festivities.

The proceeds will support St. Mary’s Nutrition Center and its programming. The Nutrition Center serves as a hub for healthy food initiatives across Lewiston and Androscoggin County. Key programs include the food pantry, cooking and garden education programs for people of all ages, the Lewiston Farmers’ Market, and Lots to Gardens, which uses downtown gardens to create access to fresh local food, empower youth, and to build community. For more information contact the Nutrition Center at 207-513-3848.

More Than 100 People Attend St. Mary’s Nutrition Center’s Annual Community Dinner

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
The crowd of community members passes through a buffet line of healthy food prepared by Cabot’s Gratitude Grille and the Nutrition Center’s Summer Youth Gardeners.

The crowd of community members passes through a buffet line of healthy food prepared by Cabot’s Gratitude Grille and the Nutrition Center’s Summer Youth Gardeners.

More than 100 community members, staff, youth, volunteers, supporters, and gardeners, attended the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center’s Annual Community Dinner on last week to celebrate all the hard work and community service that has been accomplished this growing season. This annual dinner highlights the Nutrition Center’s Lots to Gardens program; attendees included the Youth Gardeners and their families, some of the 115 families that garden in the community garden plots in downtown Lewiston and at Meadowview and Hillview housing complexes, and others who have participated in or supported the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, Lots to Gardens, and the St. Mary’s Food Pantry over the year.

The evening was led by the Summer Youth Gardeners (SYGs). Much of the menu was locally grown and developed and prepared from scratch by the SYGs. It also reflected their diverse culinary backgrounds, including Chinese chicken and rice, Somali chicken and rice, Sahro’s cabbage dish, Fiston’s braised greens, green beans, blueberry banana smoothie, and beet raspberry brownies. True to

Community Gardener, Kirk Jones of Lewiston gets ready to enjoy his dinner.

Community Gardener, Kirk Jones of Lewiston gets ready to enjoy his dinner.

the Nutrition Center’s mission, the door prize, won by Community Gardener Kirk Jones, was a basket of fresh veggies and Lewiston Farmers’ Market gift certificates.

In addition, as a special treat this year, Cabot Cheese joined the fun with their Farmers’ Gratitude Grille, which is a traveling kitchen, conceived by the farm families who own Cabot, to thank volunteers and community-service-based organizations for the extraordinary work they do. They served pimento grilled cheese sandwiches, salad, and oatmeal raisin cookies from their mobile kitchen in the Nutrition Center’s parking lot.

The diverse group of Summer Youth Gardeners also developed and showcased a short presentation about their summer experience in the program. The presentation included skits about teenage experiences and how they are using their voices to speak up about injustices and to treat one another with more kindness. Several youth also told personal stories and gave thanks for all they learned in the program, including Mohamed Abdullahi. “Although I will not be working with Lots to Gardens anymore, the experiences, the laughter, and the learning I will take with me. I am grateful for learning how to cook healthy food, and food from other cultures, and for the gardening skills I will use later in life. I now pay more attention to how I treat people. I’m a better friend, better son, and a better person. I’m happy that Lots to Gardens is part of the community, and that the community is part of Lots to Gardens,” said Abdullahi.

Along with the youth, Kirsten Walter, Nutrition Center Director, explained that the Nutrition Center’s Lots to Gardens youth programs are open to Lewiston/Auburn area youth between the ages of 14-18. Through the program, they get job training and experience, learn about gardening, nutrition, and cooking, and participate in leadership development training. She thanked the individuals, businesses and organizations that provided youth sponsorships this year, including Agren Appliance; Lake Auburn Half Marathon; Luke Robinson and Wolfpack Fitness; Fred and Janet Bishop; Russ Donahue, Elizabeth Keene and employees at St. Mary’s Health System. “Sponsoring one youth position costs $1,200 and is a great way to give back and engage a young person in developing lifelong healthy habits and becoming an agent of change in their community,” said Walter. Interested individuals can contact Walter to learn more.

The St. Mary’s Nutrition Center promotes community health through organizing, advocacy, and education. It is home to the St. Mary’s Food Pantry, Lots to Gardens, Lewiston Farmers’ Market, and garden, cooking, and nutrition education programs for adults, teens, and kids. For more information, please visit www.stmarysnutritioncenter.org or call 207-513-3848.

St. Mary’s Nutrition Center Celebrates Nutrition this March

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

St. Mary’s Nutrition Center is celebrating good nutrition this March.  The goal of St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, located in downtown Lewiston, is to promote community health through its food pantry, cooking and nutrition education, youth development, and urban gardening programs.  In addition to sharing healthy eating tips and recipes daily on its Facebook page throughout the month, the Nutrition Center is also holding the following activities.

Community Cooking Night will be held Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 5:30-7:30pm, at St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, 208 Bates Street, Lewiston.  This is a community get together and meal where participants practice healthy cooking techniques, try new foods, and set healthy eating goals together.  Recipes feature seasonal fruits and vegetables and whole grains and the class is participant driven. Tip sheets, helpful handouts, and recipes are all available for participants to take home at the end of the class. There is a suggested donation of $5 but no one is turned away for lack of funds.  Call 513-3848 or email NutritionCenter@stmarysmaine.com to register. 

 

Registration is now open for April’s Grow a Garden Workshop Series.  This series is for anyone who wants to grow a garden to increase their sources of healthy food. You can attend one or all! If you have the resources, there is a suggested donation of $10 per class to support Nutrition Center programs, or attend all three in the series for $25.  The sessions will be held at the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center at 208 Bates St., Lewiston. To register or for more information, call 513-3844 or email Bridgette at NutritionCenter@stmarysmaine.com.


Workshop #1. Starting a GardenTuesday, April 8, 6-7pm
Things to consider when starting a garden, consultation on what type of garden is good for you, choosing a location, how to test your soil, and how to build up and improve your soil.

Workshop #2. Starting your own SeedlingsTuesday, April 15, 6-7pm
What you need and need to know to start your own seedlings for your garden. Choose a veggie to plant and take home at the end of the workshop.

Workshop #3. Making a Garden PlanTuesday, April 22, 6-7pm
Resources and advice on how to make a garden plan with a focus on making the most of small spaces and preventing pests.

 

Electricity Maine is featuring its partnership with St. Mary’s Nutrition Center throughout the month of March.  When people sign up or renew with Electricity Maine in March, they can chose to have a portion of their electricity bill support the Nutrition Center’s programming. Find more information at www.electricityme.com/NutritionCenter, or call (866) 573- 2674.

 

The last Lewiston Winter Farmers’ Market of the season will be held on March 20, 2014, 5-7:30pm, at the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, 208 Bates Street in Lewiston.  People can come by and load up on fresh, healthy produce, local meats and cheeses, and have a healthy dinner at the Farmers’ Market Café while they’re there.  More information about the farmers’ market can be found on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lewistonfarmersmarket.

 

The Food Pantry is engaging in a Healthy Food Drive as part of a coordinated community effort this spring to focus more on healthy foods and especially, healthy snacks and lunch items for kids.  Good choices include peanut butter, canned tuna and chicken, whole grain crackers and pasta, raisins and other dried fruits, and non-sugary cereals.  Because the food pantry is open 5 days a week and serves approximately 375 people per week, fresh produce can also be accepted and distributed.  Donations can be dropped off at the St. Mary’s Food Pantry, 208 Bates Street in Lewiston, Monday through Friday from 9 to 11am. 

 

Finally, the Nutrition Center’s Community Cooking Educators will be delivering nutrition education in local elementary school classrooms throughout this month and through the end of the school year.  The “Pick a Better Snack and Act” curriculum promotes fruits and vegetables as an attractive alternative to less healthy snacks.  Through hands-on nutrition and cooking activities, kids are learning that making better choices can be fun, tasty, and healthy. 

St. Mary’s Nutrition Center is celebrating good nutrition this March.  The goal of St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, located in downtown Lewiston, is to promote community health through its food pantry, cooking and nutrition education, youth development, and urban gardening programs.  In addition to sharing healthy eating tips and recipes daily on its Facebook page throughout the month, the Nutrition Center is also holding the following activities.

Community Cooking Night will be held Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 5:30-7:30pm, at St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, 208 Bates Street, Lewiston.  This is a community get together and meal where participants practice healthy cooking techniques, try new foods, and set healthy eating goals together.  Recipes feature seasonal fruits and vegetables and whole grains and the class is participant driven. Tip sheets, helpful handouts, and recipes are all available for participants to take home at the end of the class. There is a suggested donation of $5 but no one is turned away for lack of funds.  Call 513-3848 or email NutritionCenter@stmarysmaine.com to register. 

 

Registration is now open for April’s Grow a Garden Workshop Series.  This series is for anyone who wants to grow a garden to increase their sources of healthy food. You can attend one or all! If you have the resources, there is a suggested donation of $10 per class to support Nutrition Center programs, or attend all three in the series for $25.  The sessions will be held at the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center at 208 Bates St., Lewiston. To register or for more information, call 513-3844 or email Bridgette at NutritionCenter@stmarysmaine.com.
Workshop #1. Starting a Garden – Tuesday, April 8, 6-7pm
Things to consider when starting a garden, consultation on what type of garden is good for you, choosing a location, how to test your soil, and how to build up and improve your soil.

Workshop #2. Starting your own Seedlings – Tuesday, April 15, 6-7pm
What you need and need to know to start your own seedlings for your garden. Choose a veggie to plant and take home at the end of the workshop.

Workshop #3. Making a Garden Plan – Tuesday, April 22, 6-7pm
Resources and advice on how to make a garden plan with a focus on making the most of small spaces and preventing pests.
Electricity Maine is featuring its partnership with St. Mary’s Nutrition Center throughout the month of March.  When people sign up or renew with Electricity Maine in March, they can chose to have a portion of their electricity bill support the Nutrition Center’s programming. Find more information at www.electricityme.com/NutritionCenter, or call (866) 573- 2674.

 

The last Lewiston Winter Farmers’ Market of the season will be held on March 20, 2014, 5-7:30pm, at the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, 208 Bates Street in Lewiston.  People can come by and load up on fresh, healthy produce, local meats and cheeses, and have a healthy dinner at the Farmers’ Market Café while they’re there.  More information about the farmers’ market can be found on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/lewistonfarmersmarket.

 

The Food Pantry is engaging in a Healthy Food Drive as part of a coordinated community effort this spring to focus more on healthy foods and especially, healthy snacks and lunch items for kids.  Good choices include peanut butter, canned tuna and chicken, whole grain crackers and pasta, raisins and other dried fruits, and non-sugary cereals.  Because the food pantry is open 5 days a week and serves approximately 375 people per week, fresh produce can also be accepted and distributed.  Donations can be dropped off at the St. Mary’s Food Pantry, 208 Bates Street in Lewiston, Monday through Friday from 9 to 11am. 

 

Finally, the Nutrition Center’s Community Cooking Educators will be delivering nutrition education in local elementary school classrooms throughout this month and through the end of the school year.  The “Pick a Better Snack and Act” curriculum promotes fruits and vegetables as an attractive alternative to less healthy snacks.  Through hands-on nutrition and cooking activities, kids are learning that making better choices can be fun, tasty, and healthy. 

Sam’s Italian Restaurants Fight Hunger

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Each fall thirteen Sam’s Italian Restaurants participate in a fund-raising effort in support local food pantries. For a $1 donation, customers can purchase paper cornucopias to help end hunger. The Sam’s location that sells the most cornucopias wins prizes as a thank you from Sam’s and local businesses such as Sparetime Recreation and Flagship Cinema.

This year, the employees at the restaurant’s Brunswick location raised the largest amount benefiting their local food pantry and Sam’s on Minot Avenue in Auburn raised the most for St. Mary’s Health System’s Food Pantry.  A plaque noting their achievement was presented to the store in January as a thank you by Joyce Gagnon the Manager of St. Mary’s Food Pantry. Altogether, Sam’s restaurants in Maine raised $4,000 to end hunger!

In the photo (l to r):  Wendy Chapman/Manager of Sam’s Minot Avenue location, Joyce Gagnon/St. Mary’s Food Pantry, Andy Morin/District Manager.

National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Imagine spending the longest night of the year on the streets with no place to call home…

The Lewiston/Auburn Alliance for Services to the Homeless (LAASH) and New Beginnings invite the community to join their annual candlelight vigil to remember homeless people during
the holiday season from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, December 21, in downtown Lewiston.

For more than 10 years, LAASH and New Beginnings have held the vigil as part of a national movement of cities marking National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day on or near the winter solstice, the first day of winter and the longest night of the year.

Please meet at 4:30 p.m. in the courtyard of the Trinity Jubilee Center at Trinity Episcopal Church. The courtyard entrance is on Spruce Street near the corner with Bates Street. Vigil
participants are invited to bring nonperishable and canned food which will be collected at Trinity.

After a few words and lighting of candles, vigil participants will walk several blocks down Bates Street to Main Street. The procession will turn right on Main Street and continue up Sabattus Street and stop in front of Calvary United Methodist Church in the triangle between Sabattus, College, and Bartlett streets. Vigil participants are encouraged to bring signs to hold as the vigil remains in front of Calvary to raise awareness of homelessness to passersby during the evening commute.

Participants are invited to join the vigil at any point, and groups from businesses and service providers near the route are especially encouraged to join as the vigil passes.

Refreshments donated by Hurricane’s and the Bread Shack will be available indoors at Calvary. Staff from New Beginnings will provide van service back to Jubilee or the Park Street garage as needed.

The route is near local services for low-income and homeless people in downtown Lewiston:

. New Beginnings operates support services and housing for youth, including a drop-in center, 245 Lisbon, and 24-hour emergency shelter at 491 Main St., 795-4077.
. Trinity Jubilee Center, 247 Bates St., provides daily meals and food, a warming center, refugee assistance, and resources to those in need, 782-5700.
. The Nutrition Center, 208 Bates St., includes St. Mary’s Food Pantry, youth and gardening programs, and cooking and nutrition education programs, 513-3848.
. The Center for Wisdom’s Women, 97 Blake St., includes a women’s day drop-in center with activities, workshops, and support groups, 513-3922.
. The City Mission group at Calvary Church, 59 Sabattus St., serves hot supper downstairs 4:30-5:30 pm Wednesdays and breakfast 7:30-8:30 am Sundays, 782-3221.

Each year since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless has co-sponsored National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness. In an effort
to maximize the impact of the day, organizers have encouraged statewide and local groups such as LAASH to hold events of their own. Last year, more than 152 cities across the nation
sponsored events to recommit to the task of ending homelessness.

LAASH is a collaborative made up of organizations that serve local low-income and homeless
people. LAASH, along with the United Way of Androscoggin County and other local supporters,
has launched a 10-year plan to end homelessness in Lewiston-Auburn. For more than 30
years, New Beginnings has kept youth off the streets through their shelter, housing, and
outreach programs.