Ending Hunger Campaign Luncheon Celebrates Record-Breaking $792,900.68 Raised in 2018

Representatives from credit unions from across the state gathered at the Harraseeket Inn in Freeport on February 12 for the annual luncheon celebrating the conclusion of the Maine Credit Unions’ 2018 Campaign for Ending Hunger. A record-breaking $792,900.68 was raised in 2018, over $50,000 more than the total raised in 2017!

Christine Devine, Chair of the League’s Social Responsibility Committee and President/CEO of KV Federal Credit Union welcomed attendees to the luncheon.

“This event honors the tremendous, collaborative efforts made by our credit union network in its fight to combat hunger here in Maine in 2018,” remarked Devine. “You all have donated time, money, and other resources to support this important initiative. And, I can assure you, your efforts have made a valuable difference in the lives of many Mainers.”

While fundraising is a major component in assisting with ending hunger in Maine, the impact that credit unions are making goes beyond fundraising alone. Collaboration, financial education, workforce development, community outreach, and microbusiness growth are also areas that help connect the dots.

“Giving money is really important and we’ve done a phenomenal job of raising money over the years,” stated Todd Mason, President of the Maine Credit Union League. “To solve the real problem of hunger takes more than just money. It takes time, and it takes your talents as well.”

Full Plates Full Potential

Full Plates, Full Potential’s Justin Alfond provides remarks at the luncheon.

In 2014, Full Plates Full Potential was created to bring together public, private, and non-profit organizations and stakeholders from across Maine to end childhood hunger in our state. Justin Alfond, Treasurer and Secretary of Full Plates Full Potential, shared an overview with attendees that included some staggering facts:

  • 82,000 school-age children in Maine qualify for free and reduced price meals. This is 47% of all children in our public schools
  • 1 out of 5 children in Maine are food insecure
  • 18% of Maine children live in poverty

Alfond shared his experience in the state legislature, where he saw numerous bills aimed at ending childhood hunger in Maine. He highlighted that statewide statistics can become even more shocking when broken down further. In Milo alone, nearly 93% of school-age children qualify for free and reduced meal prices.

“This state is connected by poverty,” stressed Alfond. “It doesn’t matter what zip code you’re in, there are children everyday who are wondering when their next nutritious meal is going to come to them. When I see this stat, it honestly just gets me super, super uncomfortable. It should make everyone feel uncomfortable because this shouldn’t be happening in 2019.”

Alfond went on to explain the systems that are in place to address hunger in terms of a “hunger hierarchy.” They fall into four categories: fully funded food systems (USDA food programs, SNAP, WIC), Emergency Food Systems (Meals on Wheels, backpack programs, food banks, school pantries) Crisis Food Systems (soup kitchens), and No Systems (a category reflecting those who are going hungry. In 2015, the Taskforce to End Student Hunger was created, adopting a five-year plan to end childhood hunger in Maine. Full Plates has built a statewide coalition with numerous organizations who are working together to implement this plan

“It’s amazing the amount of time, money, and effort that credit unions are giving across the state to end hunger in Maine!” concluded Alfond.

Good Shepherd Food Bank

GSFB President Kristen Miale addresses attendees at the Ending Hunger lunch.

“Food bankers, we never pass up a free lunch!” opened Kristen Miale, President of Good Shepherd Food Bank. Miale immediately went on to share how specifically the support of Maine’s credit unions through the Campaign for Ending Hunger made an impact in our communities:

  • 456 students and their families have access to healthy food every week through the School Pantry Program
  • 195 students receive a weekly backpack of food to take home during the school year through the Backpack Program
  • 27 students receive breakfast and lunch every weekday all summer through the Summer Meals Program

She stressed how the funding provided by Maine’s Credit Unions is unique in that it doesn’t restrict funding, which is unique and very much appreciated.

“We’re able to plug those gaps,” explained Miale. “Having that flexibility means that we can reach communities that nobody is thinking about.”

Miale also discussed issues surrounding access to food and the stigma surrounding needing to ask for help. A snow day, for example, means 80,000 kids will have to worry about not having breakfast or lunch. Programs like the Backpack Program allow kids to look forward to the weekend without having to worry. Many of the programs offered by Good Shepherd Food Bank, and that are supported by the unrestricted funding provided by the Campaign for Ending Hunger, enable kids to focus on being kids.

Across the board, funding has been cut over the years for the programs that were designed to be safety nets for families in need. This has resulted in Good Shepherd Food Bank feeding 15% of our state’s population. To change this, they are working with Governor Mills on bills to restore benefits for Mainers who need assistance and to add funding. Resources need to be allocated so everyone has the food they need.

“In the United States today, nobody should have to stand in line and ask for food,” stated Miale.

New Logo Revealed

In a surprise presentation at the end of the Campaign for Ending Hunger Luncheon, Mason unveiled a new, refreshed logo that will be used moving forward. It is designed to have a clean, unified feel and approach.

“We want to be sure that when we are talking about the Campaign, we’re doing it in a consistent way,” explained Mason.

Top Fundraising Credit Unions Formally Recognized

Tim Brooks, League VP of Corporate Marketing, leads the credit union award ceremony.

While every credit union in Maine contributed financially to the Campaign for Ending Hunger in 2018, the top seven credit unions in each category were presented with a plaque at the luncheon:

Total Dollars Raised

1st Place – Maine State Credit Union, $83,746.51
2nd Place – York County Federal Credit Union, $59,823.68

3rd Place – Maine Savings Federal Credit Union, $41,201.40

4th Place – University Credit Union, $31,907.60

5th Place – Sebasticook Valley Federal Credit Union, $27,075.08

6th Place – Bangor Federal Credit Union, $25,324.84

7th Place – Acadia Federal Credit Union, $23,103.43

Total Dollars Raised Per Member

1st Place – Gardiner Federal Credit Union

2nd Place – Changing Seasons Federal Credit Union

3rd Place – Maine State Credit Union

4th Place – Sabattus Regional Credit Union

5th Place – Sebasticook Valley Federal Credit Union (tied)

5th Place – York County Federal Credit Union (tied)

7th Place – Bangor Federal Credit Union

By-the-Numbers: 2018 Ending Hunger Campaign Stats

  • 100% of Maine’s Credit Unions contributed financially to the Campaign for Ending Hunger
  • $792,900.68 was raised through the Campaign for Ending Hunger in 2018, a new record and $52,874 more than was raised in 2017
  • 285 organizations across the state received financial assistance
  • 96 credit union branches in 90 cities and towns were stops on the Walking Tour
  • 503,380 pounds of food collected in Maine’s CU sponsored High School Spirit Challenge
  • 3,149,440 meals were provided through the funds raised by the Campaign for Ending Hunger