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Updated: December 13, 2023

Hannaford gives $1.3M to Maine Council on Aging, aimed at improving well-being of older adults

Courtesy / Hannaford In partnership with EqualityMaine, Hannaford and the Maine Council on Aging announced the CHEF program on Tuesday during a press conference. From left: Mike Vail, Jess Maurer, Marilyn Gugliucci, Hollie Vanderzee and John Hennessy.

Hannaford Supermarkets is working to help older adults gain better access to food and social connections through a new program, and on Tuesday kicked off the initiative with a $1.3 million donation to the Maine Council on Aging.

The gift is part of Hannaford's Connection, Health and Equity Through Food (CHEF) program, and will allow the council to distribute micro-grants to organizations, programs and projects serving older people throughout New England and New York.

The program is intended to support the needs of older adults from diverse backgrounds, including people with disabilities, immigrants and military veterans, as well as those living in rural areas with limited access to transportation. 

“Too many older people are struggling to meet their basic needs and many feel invisible and alone in this struggle,” said Jess Maurer, executive director of the Maine Council on Aging.

“This support from Hannaford will not only help solve some of the most challenging issues facing older people in our region but also sends a strong message to older people that they are seen and not forgotten, that they remain valued members of our communities.”

In addition to the grants, CHEF will include a series of webinars focused on addressing food insecurity and social isolation in older adults and establishing a Network Advisory Committee to recruit partners. The Maine Council on Aging will also produce a monthly newsletter and will help educate Hannaford workers on how to serve older customers better.

“As a grocery retailer, we understand the pivotal role that food plays in our overall wellness. And we know older adults face unique challenges when it comes to physical and mental health,” said Mike Vail, president of Hannaford Supermarkets. 

“Hannaford believes creating healthy communities requires an investment in initiatives that help all members of our community thrive, including older people,” he continued. “We are pleased to partner with the Maine Council on Aging as we work together to enhance the well-being and quality of life for older individuals.”

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