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Traci Anello - Executive Director / Founder
Debbie A. Hall - Vice President
William Frank, MD
Mary Frances Frank
We were presented with a Daily Point of Light Award by Neil & Lauren Bush at a ceremony at Hidden Pond Resort in Kennebunkport, Maine
The Community Gourmet is a grass-roots effort to address food insecurity in Southern Maine. Our concept is to help people who utilize food pantries learn how to use the vegetables and proteins available to them by teaching them how to use the products to create healthy and delicious food. Our mission is nourishing, teaching, and caring.
Traci has extensive experience in cooking professionally as well as teaching college level culinary classes. She has also volunteered at food pantries. At the food pantries she has noticed that people often do not make the best use of vegetables and proteins offered because they may not know how to cook or how to incorporate the products received into meals, or do not have the necessary resources, i.e., cooking equipment. Traci started this organization with the hopes to bring as much knowledge into people's homes to teach them basic cooking skills.
Debbie brings her extensive administrative, writing, and organizational skills to the organization.
Our mission is to teach people and to diminish the feelings of shame people experience when they need to obtain food from a pantry, and to make them feel empowered and confident.
The way we’ve done this is to create a meal kit. Our initial offering was a box with two boxes of pasta, a can of tomato sauce and Parmesan, for a spaghetti meal and mayonnaise, to create a pasta salad with vegetables from the pantry. Our second kit is a ramen kit with ramen noodles, rice, soy sauce, shelf stable tofu, broth, and fortune cookies (just for fun).
Each kit includes the items above, as well as recipes to create the meals using only the ingredients in the box, as well as recipes with suggestions for augmenting the kit with different ingredients typically available at our local food pantries. On the cover of the box, we’ve listed the ingredients inside, and a “shopping list” of potential proteins and vegetables to add from the pantry. Each kit also includes a basic kitchen tool, such as measuring cups and spoons, cutting boards, colanders, kitchen towels, etc., which are intended to help people learn basic cooking skills. Our recipes are easy to follow and flexible to accommodate any lifestyle.
We’ve distributed 450+ kits since we began in late January. We want to be able to do more kits each week and work with agencies that have direct contact with anyone experiencing food insecurities.
Our primary fundraising to date has been through the sale of raspberry linzer cookies, which we bake in a borrowed commercial kitchen. We’ve held fundraising cookie sales (for a suggested donation of $15) for both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and “Christmas in July,” baking between 35 and 45 dozen cookies for each event.
We have recently received 501(c)3 designation as a nonprofit organization. Our endeavor has been featured in Seacoast Online (https://www.seacoastonline.com/story/news/2022/06/16/community-gourmet-feeding-hungry-one-meal-kit-time/7570811001/) and the Kennebunk Post (https://www.pressherald.com/2022/06/16/cookies-for-fathers-day-yields-meal-kits-for-food-pantries/), as well as a feature on “Mainers Making a Difference” (https://wgme.com/features/mainers-making-a-difference/the-community-gourmet-helps-teach-york-county-how-to-cook)
Traci and Debbie
Magical Children's Prelude Tea Party December 7, 2022 4pm to 6pm
The Nonantum Resort, Kennebunkport, Me
Tickets available on Eventbrite
FIRE and ICE December 10, 2022 at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, Maine.We will be there from 6pm to 10pm on Saturday
Visit www.nonantumresort.com for ti
Kennebunk, Maine 04043, United States
Our Kits are available at:
The Little Pantry, 25 Water St., Kennebunk, ME (Kennebunk Chamber)
York County Shelter Pantry, 5 Swetts Rd., Alfred, ME
Big Love One Community, 220 Buffum Rd., N.Berwick, ME
Saint Mary's Church Food Pantry, Eldridge Rd., Wells, ME
Biddeford Food Pantry, 162 Elm Street, Biddeford, ME