“Soup”er Bowl of Caring Tackles Hunger in Aroostook County

Members of the Aroostook Chapter of Maine Credit Unions, which includes Acadia FCU, NorState FCU, and The County FCU, are facing off in a game where everyone is a winner. As part of the “Soup”er Bowl of Caring, each credit union will be collecting cans of soup to help stock local community cupboards and food pantries throughout region.

The Souper Bowl of Caring began in 1990 as a grassroots movement in South Carolina to collect cans of soup during the Super Bowl. The first year saw almost $6,000 in donations and has grown into a multi-million dollar annual campaign. Last year, the Souper Bowl of Caring collected soup in excess of $8 million and inspired the local credit unions in Aroostook County to create their own event, which collected $15,570 in soup and cash donations.

“The credit union’s mission of People Helping People is alive and well in Aroostook County,” said Dan Bagley, Executive Vice President at The County FCU. “Tackling hunger for our communities is extremely important, as there are many families and individuals in need. We may never know the extent of how much of a difference even the smallest donation can make in someone’s life. To know that you are helping someone in need is rewarding in itself, and as a community, as we all pitch in together, the impact will be felt across the entire County.”

The Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP) is coordinating this year’s donation distribution. As many as ten community cupboards throughout Aroostook County and some food pantries in communities without a food cupboard will receive what is collected. WAGM-TV also is partnering on the project, providing an in-kind donation of commercial spots to advertise the effort.

“Food cupboards are a great alternative when you’re facing hunger and unable to access traditional food pantries due to issues such as hours of operation, restrictions on numbers of visits in a given time period, or income guidelines,” said Heidi Rackliffe, ACAP Program Coordinator and Hope & Prosperity Resource Director. “Soup is a perfect food when someone doesn’t have a functional kitchen, and it is a complete, nutritious meal in a can.”

Anyone can drop off cans of soup or make a donation at any of the 16 credit union locations across Aroostook County until February 3.

“What a great opportunity for the Aroostook Chapter of Credit Unions to engage our credit union members and communities throughout Aroostook County to come together to help our friends and neighbors in need,” said Denise Duperré, Chief Marketing Executive at NorState FCU and President of the Aroostook Chapter of Credit Unions. “A small donation goes a long way to feed an individual in need. The credit union philosophy of People Helping People still rings strong and true. Donate one or more cans of soup at your local credit union and your donation will help feed people in your hometown.”

Every $1 collected in donations will purchase a can of soup. All donations will stay local to benefit the community.

“Hunger and food insecurity is a problem in the County and I’m pleased that our local credit unions were able to team up to help fight this issue,” said David Desjardins, President/CEO at Acadia FCU. “It’s another way local institutions, with the help of local people, are addressing the issue of hunger in Aroostook County.”

To build momentum and help spread the word, people donating soup are encouraged to take a “selfless selfie” to share on their credit union’s social media pages using the hashtag #CUtacklehunger.