Friday, March 30, 2012

York County Hunger Programs Receive Congressional Recognition


Representative Chellie Pingree in the U.S. House of Representatives recognized the Mothers and Others Against Hunger project and the York County Shelter Programs on Thursday, March 1.

In Rep. Pingree's remarks for the Congressional Record she stated: "Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize an incredible program in Maine, The Mothers and Others Against Hunger through the York County Shelter Programs. The York County Shelter Programs is a homeless services provider in Alfred that has been in operation for more than thirty-one years and continues to be an essential part of York County—over the years caring for thousands of Mainers. Maine is a state that has struggled with food insecurity and Mothers and Others Against Hunger is making great strides in eradicating hunger in Maine. Projects like this demonstrate Maine's unbreakable community bond in our fight against hunger today."

Pingree personally presented an official, framed recognition of her endorsement of the work of the York County Shelter Programs and Mothers and Others Against Hunger on Thursday, March 15, when she and her staff toured the Shelter buildings in Alfred and learned about their many programs that address Mainers in need.

Over one hundred businesses, agencies, and individuals have pledged to donate either $50 in food or a $50 donation to help support the work of the Mothers and Others Against Hunger project. A map has been set up on the Mothers and Others Against Hunger website ( depicting all the towns in Maine and New Hampshire that have pledged their support to this program.

Twenty-three of the twenty-nine York County towns already have participants in this hunger project. Pledges have been made from seven counties in Maine and New Hampshire, and from Arkansas, Iowa, Rhode Island and Vermont. Area businesses and individuals concerned about the issue of hunger are urged to consider joining this group.

The Mothers and Others Against Hunger group will host a Mother's Day Dessert and Tea in Alfred on Sunday, May 13, from 1 to 4pm. Proceeds from this event and from the Fifth Annual 5kRun /Two Mile Walk for the Homeless and the Hungry on Saturday, May 19, at Mother's Beach in Kennebunk, will benefit efforts to eradicate hunger. For additional information contact Mary Doyle at 207-793-2759 or email:

Photo Caption: York County Shelter Programs Executive Director Donald Gean discusses the Shelter's several feeding programs with U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree outside the Shelter's Bakery on March 15. (Photo courtesy of Mary Doyle)

York, South Berwick and Wells Police Departments Receive Federal Grant


While the next national and state wide Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, April 28, from 10am-2pm, police departments in the towns of York, Wells and South Berwick are now offering community members the opportunity to safely dispose of unused, unwanted or expired medications at any time.

Three MedReturn “Drug Lock” boxes were recently purchased for South Berwick, Wells and York police departments through a Drug Free Communities Grant from Choose To Be Healthy and with a donation from York Hospital.

The Drop Boxes are large green metal boxes located in the police departments’ waiting areas and entrances. All are secure, within eye and camera of a police officer and available to the public 24/7 for convenient and proper disposal. Area police will coordinate proper and safe disposal of the drugs collected in the Drug Lock Boxes on a regular basis.

Chief Dana LaJoie of South Berwick Police Department said that he “welcomes this addition as it allows for expedient and safe disposal. No longer do citizens have to be burdened with how to dispose of medications.” All three police departments—Wells, York and South Berwick—encourage people from surrounding communities to also take advantage of the new Drug Lock Boxes.

Sally Manninen, who coordinates the Drug Free Communities grant that helped pay for the MedReturn boxes, said when she asked York Hospital if it could help pay for the rest of the expensive boxes, Jud Knox, President of York Hospital and John Phyllis, Head of the Hospital Pharmacy both quickly agreed that it was a worthy effort.

In York County schools, 16 percent of the 9-12th graders surveyed reported abusing prescription drugs at least once in their lives (Maine Integrated Youth Health Survey, 2011). The good news is this number has gone down from 20 percent in 2009. Restricting access to prescription drugs in the home and disposing of drugs properly is just part of the effort to prevent prescription drug abuse in our communities.

During the last Drug Take Back Day in October 2011, the State of Maine collected 14,120 pounds of drugs, ranking Maine number one per capita in the U.S. collection effort during each of the three previous national collection events. Here in nine communities of southern York County served by Choose To Be Healthy, police and community members collected almost 1200 pounds in last year’s April and October Drug Take Back Days.

The next National Drug Take Back Day is Saturday, April 28, from 10am-2pm. The event is anonymous and free. Area collection locations for April 28 include: Wells Ergent Care, Ogunquit Transfer Station, Hannaford in York, the Fire Station on Gorges Road in Kittery, the Police Stations in Eliot, Berwick and North Berwick, and the Community Center in South Berwick.

People are asked to remove any personal identifying info from labels. Medicine accepted includes prescription, over-the-counter or veterinary pills, drops and ointments. Police will not accept thermometers, batteries, durable medical equipment, intravenous solutions, injectables or illegal substances.

For more information, contact Sally Manninen, Choose To Be Healthy’s Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator at York Hospital’s Center for Community Health, at 207-439-2936. Go to the Drug Enforcement Administration DEA website for the National Drug Take Back Day drop off locations nearest you.

Final Winter Gateway Farmers’ Market This Saturday


This Saturday, March 31, marks the final date for this year’s Winter Farmers’ Market in York. Stop by and support your local farmers, food producers, artists and artisans. Pick up your usual market foods: fresh veggies, Maine maple syrup, breads, fish, baked goods, jams, granola, fresh eggs and locally raised pork, beef and chicken. They also have some select crafters participating with knitted goods, soaps, wood items and handcrafted jewelry.

The summer market will kick off its tenth season on Saturday, June 2, from 9-1pm here at the Chamber of Commerce with their new sponsor, When Pigs Fly. Keep your eyes and ears open for more information as the summer season approaches. The 2011/2012 Winter Gateway Farmers’ Market took place on eleven Saturdays between November and March, indoors at the American Legion (9 Hannaford Drive), in York. The market runs from 9am-12pm and there are 25-30 vendors each Saturday.

The Bank of Maine sponsors the market. Local decisions, local people, and a banking partner committed to providing exceptional service. Visit their website at

Check out for a complete list of participants and when they’ll be attending the market. For more information contact the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce at 207-363-4422.

Photos Caption: Linda of Archer Angus shows off her grass-fed beef at a recent Market. (Courtesy Photo)