For the fourth year, three County hospitals are using the celebration of National Hospital Week to hold a food drive to help out those in need in their communities.

The Hospitals Against Hunger effort kicks off on May 1 and runs through May 11.

With specific needs identified in each of the County regions served by Northern Maine Medical Center, The Aroostook Medical Center and Houlton Regional Hospital, the hospitals are opting to each collect for their own region’s respective cause while undergoing this joint food drive effort.

For TAMC, that support will once again be directed to the Summer Gap Feeding Program, a program with which TAMC partners with United Way of Aroostook, the City of Presque Isle and Presque Isle Housing Authority.  The program, which was created last year, delivers lunches to children in low income housing in Presque Isle during the month of August. It was created to fill the need during the “gap” time in which the federally funded lunch program over the summer ends as high school students return to school but elementary and middle school students are still home due to the split harvest scheduled in MSAD #1.

TAMC will be collecting food at all of their locations:  AR Gould Memorial Hospital and North Street Healthcare in Presque Isle; the Aroostook Health Center and Mars Hill Health Center in Mars Hill; the Caribou Health Center and the Fort Fairfield Health Center.  While the drive is primarily geared toward their own employees, community members are invited to drop off donations if they choose.

Northern Maine Medical Center will also be accepting food donations at all of their sites: Medical Office Building, Forest Hill, Acadia Family Health Center in Madawaska and the hospital.  Members of the public are encouraged to make donations in drop off areas at these sites in addition to the donations made internally by employees.  Anyone who brings in a box of cereal to contribute to the cereal wall that they will be building will be provided a healthy treat.  All food items collected will be donated to the Fort Kent Food Pantry.

Also taking part in this cause again this year is Houlton Regional Hospital.  Employees at the hospital will be donating food items for the Houlton Area Backpacks for Kids Program.  This program has helped 42 families from the Southern Aroostook area.

While the hospitals are collaborating in honor of National Hospital Week (May 6-12), the Hospitals Against Hunger effort will begin at the beginning of the month to allow more time for collection.  The food drive will wrap up on Friday, May 11 at each location.  Community members who want to support these local hospital efforts are encouraged to drop off items prior to May 11.  Questions can be directed to the individual hospitals:  TAMC, 768-4012; NMMC, 834-1353; or HRH, 532-2900.

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