Good Shepherd Food-Bank claims ICARE Ministries was forcing religion on pantry customers

6:41 PM, May 12, 2011   |    comments
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MILLINOCKET, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- A food pantry in the Katahdin Region is now looking for a new supplier after it was cut off by the Good Shepherd Food-Bank.

'ICARE Ministries' in Millinocket had been working with 'Good Shepherd' for many years. The pantry is run by volunteers and staff at the community church, which was founded back in 1997. Pastor Herschel Hafford says he got a letter from the food bank late last month saying it would be ending its relationship with the ministry.

Hafford says the reason offered by 'Good Shepherd' was that ICARE was only offering food to people of certain religions and forcing customers to attend services at the pantry, which are claims that the ministry strongly denies.

"We don't do that," Hafford said, "We serve whoever comes in the door regardless of race, color, creed, religion... sexual orientation. It doesn't matter."

Directors at 'Good Shepherd' defended their position.

"ICARE ministries, which has done lots of good work in that community for many years we have supplied them, was not in compliance with some of our requirements," said Rick Small, who is the food bank's president and CEO, "and when that happens we terminate the relationship." 

Hafford says that he is currently working on getting a new supplier for the pantry. Directors at 'Good Shepherd' say that they are already working on establishing ties with other food cupboards in the area.


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