September 12, 2017

Good Food Bus sets new records at 12 Maine bus stops

Courtesy / St. Mary’s Nutrition Center
Courtesy / St. Mary’s Nutrition Center
Ruth Carney, a weekly visitor to the Good Food Bus, picks up groceries at its stop at the Center for Wisdom’s Women, a drop-in center for neighborhood women in Lewiston.

The Good Food Bus's growing network of support

The Good Food Bus is a project of St. Mary's Nutrition Center, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and its Healthy Food Fund, and Cultivating Community.

In 2017 the bus schedule grew to 12 stops in neighborhoods and businesses across Lewiston-Auburn, Westbrook, and Bath, bringing together diverse Maine shoppers who buy fresh local produce, bread, eggs, cheese and other foods.

Here are the 2017 stops:

  • Tuesday, 12-12:30 p.m. Goodwill Industries, 34 Hutcherson Dr., Gorham

  • Tuesday, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Westbrook Pointe Apartments, 26 Prospect Street, #41, Westbrook

  • Tuesday, 2-5 p.m., St. Mary's Nutrition Center, 208 Bates Street, Lewiston

  • Tuesday, 3:30-5:30 p.m., St. Anthony's Church, 268 Brown St., Westbrook

  • Wednesday, 9:30 -10:30 a.m., Center for Women's Wisdom, 97 Blake Street, Lewiston

  • Wednesday, 11 a.m. -12 p.m., St. Mary's Integrative Medicine, 198 Maine Street, Lewiston

  • Wednesday, 12:30-2 p.m., St. Mary's Regional Medical Center, 93 Campus Ave., Lewiston

  • Wednesday, 4-5:30 p.m., Knox Street Community Garden, 61 Knox St., Lewiston

  • Thursday, 11:30-12:30 p.m., Bath Iron Works, Bath

  • Friday, 12-1:30 p.m., Bedard Pharmacy and Medical Supplies, 359 Minot Ave., Auburn

  • Friday, 2-3 p.m., Lake Auburn Avenue Townhouse, 74 Lake Auburn Avenue, Auburn

  • Friday, 4-5:30 p.m., Great Falls Plaza across from the YMCA, 62 Turner St., Auburn.

The nonprofit Good Food Bus, a mobile food market operated by St. Mary's Nutrition Center and Cultivating Community, is setting new records its second full summer season.

"Our first week was better than any week last season," coordinator Price Hulin said in a news release, citing 206 transactions in week one of 2017 compared to just 161 in week one of 2016. Sales are set to nearly double this season as compared to last.

The bus carries a selection of local, fresh fruit and vegetables along with foods "from away" such as citrus. It also offers locally sourced eggs, cheese and bread, pre-prepared frozen lunch items and Anchor Meal bags stocked with a recipe and all ingredients needed to prepare a delicious healthy dinner.

Anchor Meals vary each week and have included spinach and garlic pizza, a chick-pea curry, and a veggie burrito. Responses to the meals have been overwhelmingly positive, according to the news release.

The Good Food Bus supports about 75 families each week in cooking a healthy meal from scratch, with 153 Anchor Meal bags being sold the last week of July. Bags cost $10 or $12 and feed two to four people.

Support from Harvard Pilgrim

The lead philanthropic partner in the Good Food Bus initiative is the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, which supports Harvard Pilgrim's mission to improve the quality and value of healthcare for the people and communities it serves.

In 2015 the foundation's Healthy Food Fund launched 26 projects in Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Since then the amount of healthy, local produce distributed to low-income families in the region has increased 87%.

In 2016, more than $1.4 million in grants was distributed to the foundation's Healthy Food Fund initiatives within its four-state region of Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire — with funds supporting programs that grow, distribute and/or market fresh food for low-income families and communities across the region.

"We are so pleased we can show how relatively small investments in local organizations can measurably improve access to healthy food," said Karen Voci, the foundation's president.


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