Thanks to our many volunteers and community supporters, here’s what the Locker Project was able to do in 2018:
- collect 10,089 healthy meal items for our school pantries from 37 community food drives
- rescue 137,724 pounds of fresh produce, meats, dairy, eggs, and bread from going to waste
- distribute fresh, healthy food to children and families at 244 school and neighborhood events
- connect 12 schools serving families in need with 36,033 pounds of food from Good Shepherd Food Bank
- provide the equivalent of 157,021 meals to hungry students and their families in Southern Maine!
- launched new programs at Ocean Avenue Elementary School, Casco Bay High School, and Portland High School
- expanded our reach in South Portland with a snack program at Mahoney Middle School and a new pantry and fresh food at the Small School
- begun planning for new programs at additional Head Start locations.
In 2011 Katie Wallace, a parent of an East End Community School (EECS) student, was volunteering to help her daughter’s kindergarten teacher set up for snack time. Katie noticed that many of the kids didn’t have a snack and waited until snack time was over to rejoin their classmates. These students were hungry, yet there was nothing for them to eat.
Katie soon learned that these students’ families didn’t have the means to send snacks to school and began to deliver extra food to the classroom to make sure every child had a snack. Soon she was providing extra snacks for every EECS classroom.
In 2013, Good Shepherd Food Bank provided a $4,000 grant to help Katie set up a food pantry in the nurse’s office. The food bank offered to provide healthy pantry items at a discount and encouraged Katie to expand to more schools in Greater Portland.
In 2014 Katie Brown joined forces with Katie Wallace and, together with a founding board of community members, they formed the Locker Project. As executive director for the subsequent four years, Katie Brown forged relationships with dozens of community groups, local businesses, school staff, gardeners and volunteers to make the Locker Project a true community effort.
The simple act of ensuring every student in a single classroom had nourishing food at snack time has grown to 24 program sites serving thousands of children and families across Greater Portland.
With the help of 80+ volunteers and the continued partnership with Good Shepherd Food Bank, the Locker Project now stocks more than 20 school pantries and distributes more than 13,000 lbs of rescued fresh produce, meats, eggs, and bread each month for students to take home and share with their families, improving the nutritional content of their diets and encouraging the preparation of fresh food at home.