Maine's Credit Unions Continue Multi-Year Commitment To End Childhood Hunger
September 29, 2014
(Pictured l-r are: Senator Justin Alfond, President of the Maine Senate, Marcia Gendron, Principal of East End Community School, Kristen Miale, President of Good Shepherd Food Bank, and John Murphy, President of the Maine Credit Union League, display a $25,000 check made by Maine's credit unions to support the school backpack and school pantry programs to combat childhood hunger in Maine.)
On Monday, September 29, at the East End Community School in Portland, the Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger distributed some of the record-breaking $513,000 raised in 2013 by making a $25,000 contribution for the second year in a row to continue its support of the Good Shepherd Food Bank’s school backpack and school pantry program. East End Community School, which has a high percentage of children who are classified as hungry or food insecure, is one of the many schools that will benefit from this contribution.
The contribution is the second year of a three-year commitment to the school backpack and school pantry programs pledged by Maine’s credit unions last year. Maine Senate President Justin Alfond, who has been a strong advocate of ending hunger and in whose district the East End School is located, attended the ceremony and praised the leadership of Maine’s credit unions in fighting childhood hunger. “It is great to see a community partner provide this type of support. I commend Maine’s credit unions for recognizing the benefit of making sure kids have enough to eat – it impacts their grades, their learning and their health.”
“The Food Bank is extremely grateful for our partnership with Maine’s credit unions and the Campaign for Ending Hunger,” says Kristen Miale, president of Good Shepherd Food Bank. “Maine’s credit unions have been raising money to fight hunger for years, but this multi-year gift for the Food Bank’s child hunger programs is especially important. The rates of child hunger in Maine are unacceptable. We have enough nutritious food to provide for every child who needs a meal and with support from dedicated partners like Maine’s Credit Union we can make a big difference.”
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.”
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 36 schools.
Additionally, the Food-Bank has School Pantry sites in 43 schools. 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 was the first year operating both programs, and successfully provided 200,000 meals to Maine children who were struggling with hunger.
Since 1990, the Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger has raised $5.3 million to help end hunger in Maine including a record-setting $513,000 raised in 2013. All contributions to the Campaign are tax-deductible.