Child nutrition programs provide low-income students with healthy meals during the school day. For too many Maine families, these programs serve as a primary source of food.
When school is out during the summer, providing meals to children in need becomes more challenging. Many communities offer a summer meals program to fill the hunger gap, but running a successful program isn’t an easy undertaking. Volunteers, training, funding, logistics support – it’s all needed to create a program that not only runs smoothly, but is inviting to local families.
Because Maine’s credit unions are deeply committed to ending hunger, many local credit unions are lending a hand to summer meal programs in their communities. Portland Public Schools have received assistance from the League, Cumberland County Federal Credit Union (FCU), Infinity FCU, University CU, and Town and County FCU, in the form of gift cards, Sea Dogs tickets, and volunteer hours.
Infinity FCU recently sent six employees to a meal distribution site in Portland to assist with an enrichment program. The Infinity FCU team helped entertain the kids after lunch by playing monkey in the middle, tag football, and hula-hooping. A few brave team members even climbed the jungle gym!
Oxford FCU also is engaged with their community’s efforts. In addition to providing financial support to RSU 10’s summer meal program, Oxford FCU is sending staff to the Mexico Public Library twice per week to help with logistics and to interact with the children through reading and games.
“It’s fantastic to interact with the kids and see the smiles on their faces — it’s amazing,” said Matt Kaubris, President/CEO of Oxford FCU. “When I grew up, I always had a full belly, and so it was never a concern. So I can’t imagine focusing on school work or even playing during the summer time when that hunger is gnawing at you.”
Later this month, Central Maine Credit Union (CU) will be presenting a $3,000 donation to RSU 16 in Poland. Without the financial support of Central Maine CU, the district would have been unable to run their summer meals program this year. The program, which began on June 24, will provide approximately 3,900 lunches and 2,900 breakfast meals to children in the area.
“Summer meals are a vital lifeline for children in our community,” said Vicki Stuart, CEO of Central Maine CU. “When our credit union found out this important program was in jeopardy, we knew we had to take action. Ending hunger is an initiative we take seriously and we are pleased to lend our support.”
If your credit union has helped or plans to assist a local summer meal program, please share your story with Jen Burke, League Communications and Public Affairs Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your efforts will be featured in a future edition of News and Views or Weekly Update.