Fiddlehead Focus speaks with grad student for food insecurity article

Fiddlehead Focus spoke with Crystal Hughes, a social work graduate student at the University of Maine, for an article about food insecurity in Aroostook County. Aroostook County’s rate of food insecurity is 17.1 percent, among the highest in the state, according to a 2017 study. There are 24 food pantries in the county, but homebound senior citizens might not have a way to access them. Hughes, who has been a social worker in St. John Valley for 15 years, worked with senior citizens through an internship last fall as part of her graduate work. “Much of our older population is homebound, have physical challenges or lack the transportation to get to the food pantries. Often, seniors who are on fixed incomes have to choose paying for their medication over having extra food,” Hughes said. She suggests people help their neighbors who might be food insecure by offering a ride to the nearest food pantry or delivering a bag of food. “People in the smaller communities tend to have less access to food pantries or deliveries, but in those areas there are a lot of people who look out for each other. Many food pantries are also willing to deliver food. I’m not sure if those stories happen as much in larger areas of the state,” Hughes said.