Community cupboard helping to feed those in need

AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine - Food insecurity continues to be a concern for many right here in The County. Kathy McCarty spoke with a licensed social worker about a program she created and how it's expanding in Aroostook to aid even more people.

An idea derived from social media two years ago has grown into a program of "giving what you can, and taking what you need," says creator Heidi Rackliffe, a licensed social worker with ACAP.

"We've actually been able to recreate it. A lot of community partners have gotten together and there's been about seven additional cupboards established all throughout Aroostook County, with people still asking about how they can get involved and how they can bring the cupboard to their location."

The concept is designed to get the community involved. The cupboards allow both those donating and those picking up items to do so anonymously. Items vary, from canned goods and boxed items to seasonal vegetables.

"One in five individuals - one in five individuals will go hungry. And so it's a really big need that we have here in Aroostook County, in the state of Maine, and all in the United States actually."

The working class often struggles the most - making too much to get assistance but not enough to make ends meet. Rackliffe says this program serves as a way to ensure no one goes hungry.

"We have a lot of proud people in Aroostook County who really struggle to go in and ask us help, and so it's open 24 hours, seven days a week - don't ask, don't tell. We encourage people to go by the honest policy, and if you need something for that night, access it for that night."

Rackliffe says donations are always welcome. For a list of cupboard locations, call ACAP or visit the WAGM website.

ACAP 764-3721. Cupboards are currently located at University of Maine campuses in Aroostook, Graves Shop N Save in Presque Isle, and the communities of: Presque Isle, Houlton, Mapleton, Washburn, Perham, Mars Hill and Caribou.