December marked the first time that Commodities Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) boxes were distributed here at the PR Food Center. What is CSFP you ask? It is a government-funded programs designed for low income seniors (60+) to help improve their health by supplementing their diets with USDA foods. Monthly food packages include shelf stable milk, juice, cereal, pasta, peanut butter, canned fruits and veggies, and much more.
In Piscataquis County (Penobscot, Hancock, and Washington too) CSFP is managed by Eastern Area Agency on Aging in partnership with Good Shepherd Food Bank. Each month, Good Shepherd packs and delivers CSFP boxes to designated locations in each county. EAAA volunteers congregate at each drop off site to deliver CSFP boxes to recipients. EAAA chose PRFC as a distribution site because it allows seniors to pick up their food without having to get out of their vehicles. It's like going to a drive-through fast-food window!
To get an idea of how it all works, take a look at our video on our facebook page (@PRFoodCenter) with "The Roller". It shares our fearless leaders Erin Callaway and Steve Grammont testing out a system for moving the CSFP boxes from the warehouse to the EAAA volunteers below. In turn, the volunteers loaded boxes into each car that came through the line. The set up worked really well! Customers said they really appreciated not having to get out of their cars, and the volunteers loved being able to move the boxes without a lot of lifting, carrying, and climbing up and down stairs. It was freezing outside but that didn't stop this group of volunteers from dancing while directing traffic and even serenading a few people too! Who knew that helping others could be so much fun?
the December CSFP distribution was also an exciting milestone for PRFC: it was the first time since we moved into the building in late 2017 that a big tractor trailer has delivered a large shipment of food for community members. There were cheers and excitement watching the truck pull in, square up with the loading dock, and unload the first of many pallets here at PRFC! We will continue to have CSFP deliveries and distribution here at PRFC on the second Thursday of the month. Would you like to learn more about this program, ways you can help, or whether you or someone you know are eligible to sign up? Check out EAAA's website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will answer any questions your have.