After a year of providing fresh fish and shrimp to Maine area residents through Community Supported Fisheries (CSFs), the Midcoast Fishermen’s Cooperative and the Island Institute are now providing fresh seafood-shrimp in the winter and groundfish in the summer and fall-to dozens of needy residents of Rockland.

The new program, called Share to Spare, began in late January at the Rockland Area Interfaith Outreach (AIO) Food Pantry. It is made possible by the Oak Foundation.

Seafood harvested by the fishermen of the Port Clyde-based Midcoast Fishermen’s Cooperative (MFC) will be delivered each week to the food pantry and the Methodist Home for the Meals on Wheels program. Each “share” or “half-share” of seafood, similar to that purchased by participants in Community Supported Fisheries will provide a valuable source of protein for a family or individual in need.

Recipients of the shares were excited when they were delivered on Friday, according to the Meals on Wheels program and Area Interfaith Outreach sponsors. “What a wonderful contribution! This may be the only source of seafood that our customers have, said Jane Miller of the AIO Food Pantry in Rockland, Maine. “Fresh seafood used to be something that was available to everyone along Maine’s coast, and the old timers especially miss having seafood regularly. The healthcare providers are always admonishing you to eat seafood, and here is a way that Rockland AIO customers can do so.”

“The shrimp look absolutely lovely! They are so very fresh,” said Lois Stackpole-Alley of the Rockland area Meals on Wheels Program. “We look forward to using them and feel very fortunate to be part of this program.”

Members of the Midcoast Fishermen’s Cooperative are also enthusiastic about Share to Spare. “We are very grateful to the Oak Foundation for making this pilot program possible,” said Claire Bissell, MFC Events Coordinator. “It brings us great satisfaction and pleasure to be able to provide fresh seafood to the AIO Food Pantry and Meals on Wheels programs each week.”

Anyone who would like to donate part or all of the cost of a “share” is encouraged to contact Laura Kramar at the Island Institute, 207-356-9800 or Shares of Maine shrimp cost $90 for each six-week subscription (10 pounds of shrimp per week). Fish shares will cost $360 for each 12-week subscription, and will provide 8 to 12 pounds of fresh whole fish each week starting in early June. In addition, Port Clyde Fresh Catch CSF subscribers who want to donate food items to the Rockland area AIO or Meals on Wheels programs can bring them when they pick up shares each week. The MFC’s delivery coordinator will drop these items off along with the week’s Spare to Share delivery of fresh shrimp or fish.

Laura Kramar is the marketing cooperative coordinator for the Midcoast Fishermen’s Cooperative.