Healthy Waterville

We are working to increase community connectedness                    and access to healthy food

We are Waterville.

We are a community of solutions.

We are all in this together.

Breaking Barriers

The Healthy Waterville Action Team, Waterville School District & Maine Gleaning Network collaborated to pick up potatoes that would have otherwise rotted in the field. Bags of gleaned potatoes fed people at the Evening Sandwich Program, Spectrum Generations Meals on Wheels, and the Waterville Food Bank.

Since I joined in June 2016, I have been proud to be part of a group that is supporting the great work of the food banks and soup kitchen in Waterville.  We are all in this together.  

 - George McAdoo, Healthy Waterville Action Team Member

 In 2014, Healthy Waterville facilitated 11 focus groups.  We listened to over 80 people living in poverty, with low or no income. These were our neighbors living in homeless shelters, on general assistance, in senior housing, in teen parent and Head Start programs, and on Medicaid. Participants identified a wide variety of health concerns.

Topping the list:


Affordable Healthy Food

Caring Community Connections

An abandoned mill on the Kennebec River, a monument to Waterville's industrial past. Closures created wide spread poverty that has lingered for decades.

Waterville is located in central Maine

Poverty Rates

"Feeling like no one cares is worse than being hungry." 

 - Focus Group Participant

Hall School where 75% of students qualify for free or reduced price lunch.

USDA designates Waterville's South End neighborhood as a food desert, with concentrated poverty and lack of adequate transportation to grocery stores.

2015 Census data indicate that Waterville's median household income is $33,251, compared with Maine's $49,331.  The percent of elementary school students eligible for free and reduced price lunch has increased to 79% at the George J. Mitchell School and 75% at the Albert S. Hall School.  

Strengthening Connections

Healthy Waterville engages citizens whose voices are not usually heard.

—Linda Fossa, Waterville Health and Welfare Department

Linda Fossa discusses how her Waterville upbringing prepared her for her job as director of the Health and Welfare Department. 

Our aim: Improve the health of 16,000 

Waterville residents by 2020. 

Healthy Waterville is building bridges, creating new relationships, and bringing voices together to create a healthier community.  Individuals with lived experience are working side by side with support organizations to co-create food equity solutions. 

Do nothing about us, without us.
We are experts who know our community's strengths as well as its needs. 

We reach out to other communities to learn and share. This Bright Spot visit to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, in Auburn, Maine, included the Healthy Waterville Action Team and MaineGeneral Medical Center staff.

Building Leadership

Everyone Learns, Everyone Leads

 Jen Olsen, an entrepreneur and Healthy Waterville Steering Committee member, discusses the power of personal commitment to equity in creating a healthy community. 

Healthy Waterville engages people living in poverty as leaders through the development of an Action Team with a membership goal of 50% Waterville residents with lived experience and 50% Healthy Northern Kennebec coalition professionals.  

With a total membership of 71 individuals, the Healthy Waterville Action Team has exceeded its original goal of 50. Thirty-eight local residents are actively involved in team meetings, including 16 people (42%) with lived experience. We are all improving our community's health together.

Healthy Waterville Sub-Group Leaders, left to right are, City Garden Leader Cynthia Muniz, Community Food Equity Coordinator Kelly LaCasse, Food Recovery & Wasted Food Leader Scott McAdoo, and Transportation Leader Debbie Dornish. The Action Teams are focusing on learning more about our food system and barriers to access.

Healthy Waterville Action Team Sub-Group Leaders 

Debbie Dornish - Transportation Leader

Scott McAdoo - Food Recovery and Waste Diversion Leader

Cynthia Muniz - City Garden Leader

Bridgette Gemelli - Youth Engagement Leader

Scott McAdoo, food waste and diversion subgroup leader, discusses the purpose and goals of his group. 

We use SCALE tools to Accelerate Leadership and Evaluation

Find out more about how we are doing this in Waterville by clicking the buttons, below.