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May 11, 2022

MaineHealth to open food pantry at former Greyhound bus station in Portland

Courtesy / Carol M. Highsmith A 2017 photo shows the logo mural outside the former Greyhound bus station in Portland.

A former Greyhound bus station in Portland — purchased in 2020 by MaineHealth for $1.4 million — will become a food pantry, the health care system announced Wednesday.

Renovations on the terminal, at 950 Congress St., will begin in June, according to a news release. MaineHealth expects to open the food pantry by early fall, in collaboration with Good Shepherd Food Bank.

Funding for the project includes a $200,000 donation by MaineHealth and $100,000 from former Maine Speaker of the House and U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon, of Freeport.

The pantry will initially serve patients, with the goal of expanding to serve the entire community, offering fresh, frozen and shelf-stable food for those in need.

Food insecurity makes a person more likely to develop a chronic illness and makes it harder to manage disease, the release noted.

“Health and hunger are closely connected, and we know our communities alone can’t fill the needs associated with food insecurity,” said Dora Anne Mills, MaineHealth’s chief health improvement officer.

“Our Community Health Needs Assessments have identified food insecurity as the number one priority amongst social determinants of health. The food pantries are a part of our services as a health care organization, and a natural part of our continuum of care. We also believe it is necessary for us to collaborate with community partners to support and supplement existing work.”

MaineHealth, which operates nine hospitals across the state, last year opened its first food pantries at two of them: Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington and Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway.

Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine, said, “A hospital-based food pantry has a special focus on addressing the nutritional needs of their patients and is often better positioned to provide wrap-around services … The Food Bank is looking forward to helping MaineHealth meet the need with this new location.”  

The bus station, which had long featured a brick mural with the familiar Greyhound logo, was little-used and deteriorating in recent years. Greyhound passengers in Portland are now served by a stop at a parking lot along Marginal Way.

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May 11, 2022

Fantastic news! Great location choice and reuse of an existing building. Kudos to all involved.

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