Maine CUs Contribution To Fund Significant Expansion Of Childhood Hunger Programs In Maine

September 28, 2015

On Monday, September 28, at the Portland High School, the Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger made a $25,000 contribution to help support efforts to fight childhood hunger in Maine. The funds will go to support and expand school food pantries and BackPack programs in Maine, including at Portland High School, the site of the very first school pantry, which opened in 2012, through Good Shepherd Food Bank. The donation is a portion of the record-breaking $557,257 raised in 2014 by the Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger. With this contribution, Maine's credit unions have now contributed $75,000 specifically earmarked for the school backpack and pantry programs.

The Good Shepherd Food Bank's Backpack Program provides children who are suffering the effects of chronic hunger with nutritious, easy-to-prepare food to eat during weekends and school vacations when those crucial school meals are unavailable. The School Pantry program gives school staff the opportunity to provide children in danger of hunger with nutritious food to take home to their families. Last year, the backpack and school pantry programs combined to serve 94 schools statewide. As a result, 2,500 students were served each month, and a total of 440,000 meals were served to food insecure students and their families through these programs.

According to the Good Shepherd Food Bank, this contribution will support the Food Bank in achieving its goal of partnering with over 100 schools, serving 3,000 children per month, and distributing a record-breaking 448,000 meals during the 2015/16 school year. "The impact of this contribution is significant, and our ability to surpass the 100 school milestone represents tremendous progress in only a few years of offering the Backpack and School Pantry programs. The continued commitment of Maine's credit unions to childhood hunger will make a substantial difference in the lives of more Maine students and their families and, as a result, provide for a better learning environment for these students," stated Kristen Miale, President of Good Shepherd Food Bank.

John Murphy, President of the Maine Credit Union League, said that the donation will be able to continue the significant efforts underway aimed at ending childhood hunger in Maine through the support of the Good Shepherd's Backpack and School Pantry programs, as well as other childhood hunger initiatives. "Maine's Credit Unions are dedicated to 'people helping people' of all ages. The problem of childhood hunger in our state is extreme. With one in four Maine children being food insecure, Maine ranks first in New England in terms of child food insecurity," he explained. "It is our hope that through this joint effort with the Good Shepherd Food Bank, we will make great strides towards ending childhood hunger in our state, both through providing much needed funds, and raising wide-reaching awareness."

Since 1990, the Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger has raised $5.9 million to help end hunger in Maine including a record-setting $552, 257 raised in 2014. All contributions to the Campaign are tax-deductible.