Kennebunk Savings is ringing in the holiday season with a round of donation support to local food pantries. A batch of donations totaling $30,000 was distributed to food pantries all over the region – 28 nonprofits in total, including House of Hope in Berwick, Footprints Food Pantry serving Eliot and Kittery, the Sanford Backpack Program, and Community Action Partnership of Strafford County in Dover, NH.

A focus on food insecurity has long been a part of the Bank’s Community Promise giving program, which enters its 30th year in 2024. “We like to think we’re a neighbor who happens to be a bank,” said Bradford C. Paige, CEO. “Our annual tradition of giving to local pantries is just one way we try to be neighborly.”

One grant recipient this year was Table of Plenty, a nonprofit serving 275 meals per week in Berwick and Kittery. “Many of our guests are isolated seniors, single parents and those struggling financially due to the economic hardship of inflation,” explained Diana Marzinzik, President of Table of Plenty. “Both Kittery and Berwick serve traditional, homemade holiday meals close to the actual day. We’ve heard from many guests how this meal is the only hot meal they’ll have for the week.”

Cross Roads House, a shelter in Portsmouth, is another grant recipient. “Food insecurity will, most likely, continue to grow as Seacoast residents have to make choices between paying rent, having heat for the winter, and feeding themselves,” said Will Arvelo, Executive Director. “We are seeing more NH residents become “economic refugees” at the shelter because they are being priced out of housing.”

The work continues beyond the holiday season. At Kennebunk Savings, food insecurity is a perpetual focus of their annual giving and volunteering. “We’re here to help,” Paige said. “We’re always here.”

Marzinzik shared that she continues to find the work “so very rewarding.” This year, Table of Plenty will have shared over 12,000 meals with our neighbors in need.

Arvelo is thinking about the future. “What we need immediately is more cash support so we can continue to welcome those that are going through the crises of homelessness and food insecurity. Longer-term, we need more advocacy and support from residents across the Seacoast communities for more affordable and deeply affordable housing. Both food and housing insecurity are human rights issues and we, as New Hampshirites, have to find permanent solutions.”

Photo Caption (from left): Community Action Partnership of Strafford County CEO Betsey Andrews Parker, MPH, and Dory Polanco, Dover Branch Manager, Kennebunk Savings