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Hollywood Casino hosts Seventh Annual United Way Pantry Project kick off

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United Way hopes to collect more than 15,000 pounds of food throughout the spring

BANGOR Hollywood Casino played host to the kick off for the United Way's 7th annual Pantry Project. The goal for United Way is to collect more than 15,000 pounds of food between now and the end of April, which will provide more than 12,500 meals.

For the sixth consecutive year, Hollywood Casino kicked off the initiative by recruiting local artist Allison Strange to assemble a holiday-themed winter scene made entirely out of canned goods. This year, Strange made 'Babe the Blue Ox' out of cans of tuna and packages of coffee. The roughly 1,400 cans of soup used in the project are being donated by Hollywood Casino to kick off the 2016 Pantry Project.

"I am continually impressed with the generosity of this area,' said J.D. Hill, marketing director at Hollywood Casino, Bangor. "The number of local businesses that step up to the plate to make sure the neediest in this community have food at the table during the coldest months is simply inspiring. Hollywood Casino is proud to kick off the Pantry Project, and while it's humbling to see so many businesses already on board, there is always room for more."

Businesses that get involved in the Pantry Project will receive shelving during one of the months between February April. The food collected each month on that shelving is distributed through Good Shepherd Food Bank to local food pantries at no cost. The United Way says 100% of the food and funds raised through the Pantry Project stay in Eastern Maine.

'Winter is a tough time for a lot of people,' said Jesse Moriarty, VP Resource Development & Communications with United Way of Eastern Maine. 'Between heating costs, annual bills, and other costs that go up in the colder months, home budgets get very tight. Having a well-stocked supply at local food cupboards is a necessity for many families in this area, and really highlights the importance of giving at this time of year.

The United Way says that there are more than 200,000 food insecure individuals in Maine. The organization says that as many as 1 in 4 children experience hunger in some areas of the United Way of Eastern Maine's 5-county service area. The Pantry Project aims to make food available to those who need it. Over the past six years, the program has raised more than 50,000 pounds of food from 98 sites throughout Eastern Maine.

'The United Way Pantry Project is an important event because it comes at a critical time for our partner agencies,' said Melissa Huston of Good Shepherd Food Bank. 'The weather has turned cold and it's just going to get colder. This program is a lifeline for many Maine families.'

Non-perishable foods like canned goods, peanut butter, beans and pastas are the most needed goods for 2015. Cash donations are also accepted at participating business locations.

For businesses that would like to participate in the 2016 Pantry Project, contact Amanda Astle at the United Way of Eastern Maine by phone (207-941-2800 x206) or e-mail ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

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