2015-08-14 / Front Page

Food bank among Cape’s Beach to Beacon winners

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

Michelle Hayes, a director at Good Shepherd Food Bank, met with Olympic legend and TD Beach to Beacon 10K founder Joan Benoit Samuelson for a training run prior to this year’s road race. (Courtesy photo) Michelle Hayes, a director at Good Shepherd Food Bank, met with Olympic legend and TD Beach to Beacon 10K founder Joan Benoit Samuelson for a training run prior to this year’s road race. (Courtesy photo) SCARBOROUGH – Running the TD Beach to Beacon was not just another road race for Michelle Hayes and her family, it was an opportunity to support causes near to their hearts: hunger in Maine.

This year’s 10K, which started at Crescent Beach and continued to its scenic end at Portland Headlight in Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth, benefited Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine. The Auburn-based organization, which distributes nutritious food to those in need across the state, received $30,000 as a result.

Michelle Hayes, a Scarborough resident who joined the board of Good Shepherd Food Bank last year, said that money will go a long way toward helping hungry Mainers.

“Our mission is not just to get food to those who are food insecure, but to get healthy food and nutritious food. If folks are only getting one good meal a day, we want to make sure they nourish their body and mind to make them healthier,” said Hayes, who ran the race with one of Good Shepherd Food Bank’s charity bibs to raise extra money for the organization. The organization received an additional $32,000 through the charity bibs, including $1,500 by Hayes.

Hayes said the Beach to Beacon windfall will help the organization meet the state’s greatest needs in terms of food insecurity.

“It’s going to be huge,” Good Shepherd Food Bank President Kristen Miale said of the impact the money will have. “It probably will be our largest event-based fundraising this year.”

Miale said the food bank can leverage four meals for every dollar it receives, meaning the money from the Beach to Beacon could provide close to 250,000 meals to Mainers.

Over the last 12 months, the organization provided 23 million pounds of food to some 400 food pantries, homeless shelters, meal site and nutrition programs to hand out to those in need. The food bank also partners with local schools, camps, residential facilities and group homes.

According to the Good Shepherd Food Bank’s 2014 report, more than 178,000 people – or one in every seven Maine residents – have some sort of need for food assistance. More than 50 percent of those that get assistance through Good Shepherd are under 18 or over 60 years old.

TD Bank, the race sponsor, has a long history of choosing organizations that help children as its annual beneficiary. Miale said this year is no different. Good Shepherd Food Bank provides food for approximately 50,000 children across the state. Miale said Maine has the highest rate of child food insecurity in the northeast.

Although she only joined the board last year, Hayes was first introduced to the Good Shepherd Food Bank and the work it does when she was employed at Hannaford, where she worked for 26 years.

“Hannaford is one of the biggest donors and supporters of the food bank in southern Maine,” said Hayes, who now runs a human relations consulting firm in Scarborough.

Good Shepherd Food Bank was founded in 1981 after JoAnn Pike notice many of her neighbors in the Lewiston area were without enough food. Now, close to 35 years later, Good Shepherd Food Bank is Maine’s largest hunger relief organization.

“The TD Charitable Foundation is proud to have the Good Shepherd Food Bank as this year’s beneficiary,” Larry Wold, president of TD Bank, Maine said in a press release announcing the 2015 beneficiary. “The efforts of the Good Shepherd Food Bank provided more than 17 million meals to Mainers facing hunger last year, which is an astounding achievement. We are happy to partner with such an amazing and essential organization that supports Maine.”

According to the release in 2014, Good Shepherd Food Bank “distributed more than 21 million pounds of food to families, children and seniors in need throughout Maine.”

Mike Stone, the race director, said “the organization is making a huge difference in the lives of Mainers facing hunger, which is exactly why they were chosen.”

Miale said she couldn’t be happier that Good Shepherd Food Bank was chosen. She said aside from the financial support, being named the Beach to Beacon beneficiary has helped to raise awareness “about the problem and prevalence of hunger in Maine.”

This year was the fifth time Hayes ran the Beach to Beacon, but this was the first time she ran for an organization other than Kids First Center, the beneficiary of the 2001 Beach to Beacon. The Portland-based organization was founded in 1998 by the Junior League of Greater Portland to help children and families going through divorce or separation. Hayes has been on the Kids First Center’s board of directors since 2000.

Hayes, who last ran the course in 2006, was joined on the Beach to Beacon course by her stepdaughter, Laura Hayes and her friend Jessica MacLeod, both 25, who came up from Boston for the event. Laura Hayes and McLeod ran the race to raise money for Kids First and to train for a half marathon they signed up for in October.

Other family members were also involved. Hayes’ husband Peter volunteered in the VIP area and their son, Jonathan Hayes and his friend Lucas Waugh, of Beverly, Massachusetts held the finish line tape before the men’s elite runners crossed the finish line.

Michelle Hayes is continually impressed with the race and how much it has grown since it was first run in 1998.

“She’s impressive to have had a vision like this,” Hayes said of event founder Joan Benoit Samuelson, with whom she did a training run three weeks before the Beach to Beacon. “I am awed at what it has become.”

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