MECEP honors National Hunger Awareness Day with a Report on the Food Stamp Program and a “State of the State” Discussion of Hunger in Maine

A new report released by the Maine Center for Economic Policy identifies the need for an improved Food Stamp program to alleviate the hunger felt by thousands of Maine residents. The report documents the ways in which the nation’s largest and most comprehensive nutrition program has altered the landscape of hunger in Maine and is threatened by eroding benefits that do not sustain an adequate healthy diet. The erosion of Food Stamp benefits is seen in schools where children are not able to function due to poor nutrition, in the increased use of food pantries, in the health care system where the effects of malnutrition manifest, and in the potential loss of almost $24 million in economic activity in Maine.

Current Food Stamp levels provide only 98 cents per meal for the average Mainer. This is far less than it costs to purchase wholesome foods that contribute to the overall health of Maine residents who need to thrive in our schools and workforce. Currently there are an estimated 67,000 Mainers who are food insecure, the largest portion of which are families with young children and senior citizens.

The erosion of Food Stamp benefits hurts Maine’s low-income residents and the economy as a whole. While there are many sections of the Farm Bill relevant to Maine, none will have a greater impact than the Food Stamp program. Bolstering benefit levels to this critical program will add purchasing power to the roughly 108,000 households currently receiving Food Stamp benefits, thereby generating business to local groceries and triggering labor and production demand. The $13 million that Maine will lose next year due to eroding Food Stamp benefits will result in a loss of almost $24 million in economic activity for the state.

View the full report at

This week’s State of the State show will also highlight hunger in Maine. The show is hosted by Nicole Witherbee of MECEP. This week’s guests include

Dianne Holcomb , Partners in Ending Hunger

Rick Small , Good Shepherd Food Bank

Elinor Redman , Wayside Soup Kitchen and Food Rescue

Guests discuss current community efforts to meet Maine people’s hunger needs and federal programs that supplement those efforts. The show discusses the upcoming reauthorization of the Farm Bill in Congress, which includes the Food Stamp program.

The State of the State show will air on Channel 9 on the Time Warner cable TV network Tuesday, June 5 at 7:30 pm and on Saturday and Sunday June 9 and 10 at 11:30 am. Time Warner Cable TV Channel 9 reaches over 150,000 households in over 200 towns from Ellsworth though Bangor, Waterville, Augusta, Lewiston to Boothbay and Kennebunkport.

The show also airs on the Greater Portland Community Television network Channel 4, serving 70,000 households in 14 towns in the Greater Portland area, Tuesday, June 5th at 1 am, 6 am, 1 pm, and 6 pm. Additionally the show airs on Bath Community TV Channel 14 in Bath, Brunswick, Bowdoinham, Phippsburg and Woolwich and in Baileyville, Harpswell and Farmington. Audio of the show is also available at

The show is produced by Trudy Deblois of the Time Warner Cable TV studio in Augusta.