Maine’s Credit Unions Announce Major, Multi-Year Commitment To End Childhood Hunger In Maine
On Monday, September 9, at the Good Shepherd Food-Bank in Auburn, the Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger made a $25,000 donation as they announced their commitment to the Good Shepherd Food-Bank's efforts to end childhood hunger in Maine. The funds will support the Good Shepherd Food Bank's BackPack and School Pantry Programs. As a result of the new commitment and partnership, Good Shepherd Food Bank has designated Maine's credit unions as a "Childhood Hunger Hero in Maine."
John Murphy, President of the Maine Credit Union League, said that the donation will be able to make a significant impact in 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."
Kristen Miale, President of The Good Shepherd Food Bank, said the contribution and multi-year commitment comes at a "time when the need is rising. This gives us an opportunity to make a significant impact much sooner than we had anticipated. The support of Maine's credit unions is so important and this will make such a difference in the lives of Maine children not only with their hunger but in their ability to learn because children who have enough to eat tend to do better on their homework and in class. Because of this contribution and commitment, we are pleased to designate Maine's credit unions as a childhood hunger hero to Maine children."
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. This school year, the Good Shepherd Food-Bank will be operating the BackPack Program in 20 schools located in 5 counties, serving 800 kids per week. "This contribution will enable us to provide approximately 185,000 meals to children during this school year."
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. By the end of this school year, the Good Shepherd expects to have 16 School Pantries across the state, with the goal to provide 90,000 meals through the School Pantry program this year. These funds will benefit existing food pantries, as well as enable the opening of future food pantries in schools across Maine.
Since 1990, the Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger has raised $4.8 million to help end hunger in Maine including a record-setting $471,000 in 2012.