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Solidarity Harvest Volunteers Deliver Food Boxes to Woodland Strikers & Other Families in Need

Andy O’Brien
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PHOTO: Woodland Pulp workers receive Solidarity Harvest food boxes.

Union members and other volunteers have delivered 1,653 Thanksgiving food boxes for Maine families in need as part of the 21st annual Solidarity Harvest. The organizations delivered 86 food boxes and turkeys for the striking workers at Baileyville and their families to the delight of the workers on the picket line in front of Woodland Pulp. Solidarity Harvest collected 66,000 pounds of food that was sent to 70 organizations.

“If we create situations where people can do good, lots of people want to do good,” Jack McKay, Food AND Medicine Executive Directive and President of the Eastern Maine Labor Council, told WABI Channel 5. “We raised nearly $80,000, and it’s a real team effort, to purchase vegetables from farmers throughout the state of Maine. There are 19 different things that go in each box. And then we’re doing 1,650 boxes which will go from Madawaska to Portland from Eastport to Berwick."

Every year, Eastern Labor Council and the nonprofit Food AND Medicine partner with 100 organizations including unions, recovery and mental health support organizations, faith groups, housing authorities and other nonprofits deliver large food boxes with a turkey and produce from local farms with all of the fixings needed for a good Thanksgiving dinner.

This year a volunteer driver from Teamsters Local 340 drove a truck donated by UPS to bring bring 77 boxes to Augusta and Portland. Commercial driving instructors with Tri County Regional Vocational Technical High School in Dexter also broughtstudents on several of the larger pickups and deliveries, including bringing 15,000 pounds of potatoes from Caribou, Chester and Mars Hill. On Tuesday the last group of volunteers, a group of 7th graders from the Veazie Community School‚ wrapped up and loaded boxes for the final deliveries. They reportedly had a blast!

“Thanksgiving is a season where the history of my ancestors is really on my mind and a lot of indigenous people’s mind,” said Food AND Medicine Board Member and President of Wabanaki Alliance, Maulian Bryant told WABI. “The original story has been sort of sanitized and packaged in a way that doesn’t acknowledge the harm to our people. So I think that I’m always drawn to organizations that really walk their talk, and I find that Food and Medicine has been really supportive. And that to me, feels like a way to heal a lot of the real story of thanksgiving and the colonialism and it just feels really good to be a part of a great forward movement and progress.”

Be part of this act of solidarity and help Food AND Medicine meet its fundraising goal of $75,000 by Sponsoring a Meal, if you haven't already and you're able. All of the funds raised through this program go directly into the food baskets and supplies. Costs are up, so every dollar helps.