BELFAST — Waldo County General Hospital has announced a new partnership with the Belfast Soup Kitchen that will enhance and expand the hospital’s food insecurity program.

Belfast Soup Kitchen now supplies all of the shelf-stable food items needed for the hospital’s “Help Yourself Shelf,” a food pantry shelf located within WCGH Primary Care and Walk-in Care offices at 119 Northport Ave.

“We are so excited about this partnership with the Belfast Soup Kitchen,” Deidre Dority, a member of WCGH’s Community Health Improvement team and the hospital’s food insecurity champion, said in a press release. “It provides the program with sustainability and will make healthy, nutrient-dense food available to more members of our community.”

WCGH was able to set up the food pantry shelf earlier this year, thanks to grant funding from the Good Shepherd Food Bank. This new partnership with Belfast Soup Kitchen ensures that the shelves will remain stocked and will allow the program to expand into other practices. Planning has already begun to bring shelves to some of WCGH’s rural health centers.

“This gives us another access point into the community,” Soup Kitchen Executive Director Cherie Merrill said. “Everyone at MaineHealth is wonderful to work with and we share the same philosophy. I’m looking forward to the partnership.”

This partnership comes on the heels of the Belfast Soup Kitchen’s receiving the Health Care Partner Award from the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce. Sponsored by WCGH, the award recognizes an individual or organization outside of the health care profession who through their actions demonstrates a commitment to our shared vision of making our community the healthiest in America.

“Making connections with other organizations that are doing this work strengthens our community,” said Jemma Penberthy, director of community health at Pen Bay Medical Center and WCGH. “It really is an example of how we’re working together to improve the health of our community.”

A video about the partnership is available on YouTube: MaineHealth partners with the Belfast Soup Kitchen.