Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness unveils mobile food pantry

The program aims to restore traditional Wabanaki food systems to support health, wellness, and community.
Published: Jul. 8, 2021 at 6:09 PM EDT
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BREWER, Maine (WABI) - Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness kicked off a new initiative to address food insecurity.

“So this is what today is about. Celebrating our culture and celebrating our food and celebrating connections to each other,” said Director Lisa Sockabasin.

Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness unveiled their mobile food pantry Thursday.

The program aims to restore traditional Wabanaki food systems to support things like health, wellness, and community.

“When I think about sovereignty, I think about what it means is we protect what is sacred, and what is most sacred to me as a Wabanaki person is those relationships and the things that have sustained us,” said Penobscot Nation Tribal Ambassador Maulian Dana.

Lisa Sockabasin says the pandemic highlighted the need to address food insecurity in their communities.

Organizers are hoping this will empower tribal households to address issues of hunger and health.

“It really is taking that shift away from something that maybe we used to feel ashamed about even when it wasn’t our fault,” Dana said.

The pantry will highlight traditional Wabanaki foods like smoked fish and dandelions.

Sockabasin wants the younger generation to connect with their culture.

“Not only are they growing and foraging and fishing and hunting, but they’re also documenting the process. They’re documenting the process for a lifetime,” Sockabasin said.

The mobile pantry will supplement existing tribal food pantries.

It also offers extra space to store large amounts of food.

“What we know is that indigenous people live everywhere, and what we want to make sure is that no matter where you are, we can connect you to your culture through food,” Sockabasin said.

For more information you can visit their website.

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