Give (back) locally

IMG_0814This time of year, we often think of buying unique, locally-made or sold items to give to loved ones. And there are plenty of ways to do so (check out our gift guide!), but if you want to Give Local without adding to your pile of things, a great option is to give to a local nonprofit.

Portland Buy Local has many non-profit members who are great candidates for your year-end giving. As part of our ongoing “Shift to Local” campaign, this December we are encouraging Portland residents and visitors to shift a portion of their gifting and giving to local, independent businesses and nonprofits.

As part of that campaign, we are featuring one of our nonprofit members: Wayside Food Programs. Approximately 1 in 6 Maine households are food insecure. Wayside is working to reduce that number. They are a small operation making a huge impact in our community. Last year, Wayside had some amazing numbers:

  • Reached 3,000 children through their kids’ healthy snack program to ensure they have a full belly while learning. They also distribute free books to kids!
  • Coordinating the distribution of 2,000 boxes of food to seniors each month
  • Re-directed 980,000 pounds of edible food away from the waste stream
  • Shared 29,000 meals with the community through their 11 weekly partner host sites.
  • Distributed 40,000 pounds of local food!IMG_0817

Many people don’t know it, but food waste is actually one of the biggest contributors toward greenhouse gases, so Wayside’s ability to rescue nearly 980,000 pounds of edible food that would have gone into the waste stream is particularly important. They redirected this food to 50 partner agencies, helping to reduce food waste while ensuring Mainers have enough to eat.

They also run a mobile food pantry in four residential communities, with a mix of fresh foods, which makes it easier for busy families (or those with limited access to transportation) to get healthy foods.

Portland’s nonprofit sector lifts up our whole community through their work. Let’s give back and give thanks by supporting them! Consider shifting an additional 10% of your gifting and giving this month to local, independent businesses and non-profits to build community and entrepreneurship, while keeping Portland independent!


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