An annual cereal drive spearheaded by the Aroostook County Action Program led to more than 1,000 boxes of cereal being collected.

The boxes of cereal will be given by the agency to kids at each of their Early Care and Education Centers and any remaining boxes will go to help stock ACAP food cupboards.

For the past several years, near the first part of November, ACAP staff have held an internal cereal drive, bringing in boxes of cereal to distribute to children attending one of seven Early Care and Education Centers from Dyer Brook and Houlton, all the way up to Fort Kent.

Three years ago, the cereal drive became ACAP's creative entry into the St. Apollonia Dental Clinic’s Festival of Trees where the boxes were used to build a large “Community Giving Tree.” People would then place tickets in a bucket by the tree to show support and hunger awareness. Participating local grocers pledged to match a certain number of tickets collected at the Festival with additional boxes of cereal.

This year, 531 boxes were collected to build the Giving Tree. Festival of Trees goers placed 977 tickets into the bucket. From across the County, 16 grocers participated in matching 502 boxes of cereal, bringing the total number of boxes collected to 1,033 to help feed the hungry in Aroostook County.

Grocers who participated this year included: Andy’s IGA, Star City/Hillside/Mars Hill IGA, Grave’s Shop & Save, Aroostook Foods, Hannaford in Caribou, Country Farms Market in Easton, Walmart in Houlton, Saucier’s Shurfine, Hannaford in Houlton, Oakfield Thriftway, Save-A-Lot in Presque Isle and Caribou, Steaks and Stuff, and John’s Shurfine in Fort Kent.

Heidi Rackliffe, ACAP family coach, was very grateful for the support. “We are fortunate to collect enough cereal not only to supply every child within our childcare centers with a box of cereal before the holidays, but to also stock our Community cupboards located in Presque Isle and Houlton."