Up To The Challenge!

March 6, 2015

challenge.jpgIn the photo, Jon Paradise, VP of Governmental Affairs of the Maine Credit Union League (second from right), joins Jeff Peterson, Anchor at WGME CBS 13 and FOX 23 (far right) in celebrating Gould Academy for winning the Winter School Spirit Challenge.  Students and a teacher from Gould proudly display the check for $1,000 that Maine's credit unions presented to the winning school to use on financial education resources.

Maine Credit Unions once again joined with CBS 13 WGME, FOX 23, the Good Shepherd Food Bank and nine high schools in southern and central Maine to help end hunger in Maine with the Winter Edition of the School Spirit Challenge.  At the finale, in addition to announcing the winning school, it was announced that 1.1 million pounds of food has been raised in the four seasons of the School Spirit Challenge Food Drive, including nearly 400,000 pounds during this past season. 

Since early January, nine high schools have been the site for a friendly-competition to see which school could raise the most pounds of food (through actual food and cash donations) for the Challenge.  As the sponsor of the School Spirit Challenge, Maine's credit unions attended each Challenge and provided a $1,000 check to be used to purchase financial education resources in the library at the winning school.

In an interview with WGME CBS 13's Jeff Peterson at the finale, Jon Paradise, VP of Governmental & Public Affairs for the Maine Credit Union League, explained how the School Spirit Challenge aligns with the ending hunger efforts of Maine's credit unions.  "Since 1990, Maine's credit unions have been committed to raising money and awareness for ending hunger with the Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger.  We believe that making sure people in communities across Maine have enough to eat is an issue that involves everyone.  It is great to see the enthusiasm from the students towards helping provide food for those in need.  Maine's credit unions have raised $5.9 million since 1990, and will continue to be a leader on this issue as long as there are people who are hungry.  Unfortunately, too many Maine people are food insecure so this effort means a lot to a lot of people."

Kristen Miale, President of the Good Shepherd Food Bank, which helps coordinate the School Spirit Challenge Food Drive, congratulated all of the schools for "making a difference, and to Maine's credit unions for once again being a great partner and supporter of ending hunger in Maine.  Ending hunger is a community effort, and Maine's credit unions are such a big part of their communities."

The winning school was Gould Academy of Bethel, which collected 108,000 pounds of food, followed by St. Dominic's in Auburn, which brought in more than 75,000 pounds of food, and Kent Hills School, which collected more than 40,000 pounds of food.  The other schools participating include (alphabetically): Boothbay Region HS in Boothbay; Cony HS in Augusta; Lake Regional HS in Naples; McAuley HS in Portland; Mt. Ararat HS in Topsham; Winslow HS in Winslow.

For the past two winters, Maine's credit unions have been the sole sponsor of the School Spirit Challenge.  "It's a great program to be a part of, and we really enjoy supporting it," added Paradise.