ELLSWORTH — Organizers of the second annual month-long, countywide food drive have hailed the event as a success.
A total of 12,350 items were collected from 114 sites in 22 towns around Hancock County in March, according to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.
Cooperative Extension and the Washington Hancock Community Agency (WHCA) organized the annual event.
Susan Farley, family assistance advocate with WHCA, said the collected food was divided up among 11 food pantries around the county.
In addition, the United Way of Eastern Maine and Maine Community Foundation provided a matching grant of $1 for each item, up to 10,000 items. That means the food drive also brought in $10,000.
Farley said the money, like the food, will be divided up equally among the individual food pantries.
“This is an awesome community,” said Farley, standing among piles of food at the Cooperative Extension office Thursday as the food was sorted and stacked in piles for each of the food pantries.
This year’s total amount of food represents a sizeable increase over last year, when about 7,500 items were collected.
Jim Tintle, co-manager at the Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry in Ellsworth, said last year he only had to make one trip to pick up the food for his organization that was collected in the countywide food drive. This year, he had to make three trips.
“This is just unbelievable,” he said. He also said the extra trips to get the food are “well worth the effort.”