Ending Hunger as an Outcome of Financial Education

Last week, the Maine Credit Union League partnered with MaineHealth in offering a financial education workshop at Franklin Memorial Hospital’s food pantry. The event was open to those enrolled in MaineHealth’s Food as Medicine program, which supports individuals with one or more chronic health conditions who have limited access to healthy food.

The two-hour workshop was led by the League’s Financial Literacy Outreach Coordinator. It focused on helping attendees develop and follow a budget, as well as affording themselves the necessities in life such as food. At the foundation of every individual’s food security and fiscal well-being is sound financial literacy, and the League and MaineHealth both recognize the positive impact financial education can have on one’s overall health and stability.

The Maine Credit Union League has been paying particular attention to both identifying and addressing the root causes of hunger—setting a strategic goal to end Maine hunger as an outcome by 2030. One of those outcomes is increased financial education, which will complement our credit unions’ work in raising money, collecting food, and spreading awareness about hunger in our state.

“The Campaign for Ending Hunger and financial education outreach have long been two pillars of our philanthropic efforts,” said Jake Holmes, the League’s Financial Literacy Outreach Coordinator. “Further aligning the two to help Mainers in need is very rewarding and the feedback I’ve received following the workshop supports the notion that there is a considerable need and appreciation for this focused outreach.”

Following the workshop—which covered income and expenses, making adjustments, prioritizing wants over needs, and more—attendees picked up their weekly meals from the food pantry. Those enrolled in the Food as Medicine class receive access to free healthy food (10 meals weekly for up to a family of 4), peer support, goal setting, and healthy cooking classes. Holmes will be leading another workshop for the class in Farmington on March 28.

Financial education outreach will continue to be an important part of our collective mission of ending hunger in Maine. Efforts will include our partnership with MaineHealth, our pilot program in partnership with Good Shepherd Food Bank, and other opportunities as they arise.

We encourage our credit unions to join us on this journey. If your credit union has an interest in partnering with the League on this type of outreach, please email Jake Holmes at jholmes@mainecul.org.