League Reinforces Its Commitment to End Hunger by 2030 Through New AmeriCorps Opportunity

Maine credit unions and the Maine Credit Union League have long been united in our work to end one of the most pervasive problems in our state: hunger. While there is enough food to feed everyone, poverty and inequality continue to plague too many individuals and families. With 11.4% of our population facing food insecurity—a rate that is higher than in any other New England state—efforts like Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger are critical. Since 1990, the Campaign has raised over $11.3 million, yet despite our efforts and those of other organizations raising funds, food insecurity remains high.

While our credit union network has done an exceptional job raising money to support local and statewide hunger relief organizations, money—while important—won’t end hunger in our state. It’s time to broaden our work and address both the root causes of food insecurity and the unique needs of those who are hungry. To help the League expand our efforts, we have been accepted to participate in the AmeriCorps VISTA program and will be hosting a volunteer to assist us with the Campaign. This individual will serve as the Community Outreach and Development Coordinator.

The idea of hosting a volunteer was generated through the work the League has been doing as a member of the Ending Hunger by 2030 Advisory Group. This collaborative group, comprised of government officials, community and business leaders, academics, food insecure residents, and philanthropists, outlined several recommendations to solve hunger. One idea, which our AmeriCorps volunteer will be working on, is to create a private sector toolkit to help HR professionals and business managers identify and address hunger within their own organizations. Resources will be developed and shared within our credit union network and beyond to maximize the impact and build a comprehensive framework that can be widely adopted.

We hope to have a volunteer in place by this summer to work with us for one year, but timing is dependent on identifying the right candidate for the position. Whoever accepts this role must have a passion for addressing food insecurity and an interest in helping Maine credit unions advance our Campaign for Ending Hunger.

Other members of the Ending Hunger by 2030 Advisory Group also will be hosting AmeriCorps volunteers to help implement additional recommendations. Having extra resources serving as boots on the ground will make a big difference in helping us reach our goals by 2030. Eight years will no doubt fly by in the blink of an eye.

If you know someone who might be interested in participating in this type of meaningful work, please share this opportunity with them. A brief job description and list of duties is outlined below. This information also can be found on AmeriCorps’ website. The volunteer will receive a small stipend or educational award for their time and will work out of the League’s Westbrook office.

We hope your credit union is as excited about this opportunity as we all are at the League. We will keep everyone apprised as we work through this process and look forward to introducing you to our volunteer as soon as they come on board. In the meantime, if you have questions regarding this effort, please email Robert Caverly, League Vice President of Governmental Affairs, at rcaverly@mainecul.org.

Job Description: Community Outreach and Development Coordinator

The Maine Credit Union League is seeking a well-rounded individual who is passionate about ending hunger to join its mission-driven team. The Community Outreach and Development Coordinator VISTA will play a key role in MECUL’s project to alleviate food insecurity and financial hardship in Maine through projects aligned with “Everyone at the Table: Maine’s Roadmap to End Hunger by 2030.”

The VISTA member will generate ideas and lead efforts to increase fundraising capabilities of Maine Credit Union League’s long-standing Campaign for Ending Hunger. The member will also conduct research and create toolkits and resources to help build workplace programs that support individuals who are facing food insecurity and economic hardship by connecting them with assistance. The VISTA member will engage the support of credit unions and their partners to promote and disseminate these resources and will provide means for training and implementation. The role requires a great balance between the creative (right-brain) and the analytical (left-brain) led by a People Helping People philosophy, which is at the heart of credit unions.

This position contributes to Maine’s historic goal of ending hunger in the state by 2030 as part of the Ending Hunger Corps, a 25-member cohort model VISTA program sponsored by Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation, Forestry (DACF). Find out more here: https://www.maine.gov/dacf/about/commissioners/endhunger/

Member Duties:

  • Further the goals of Maine’s Plan to End Hunger by 2030.
  • Conduct research, surveys, and interviews with credit unions and their partners to identify existing programs and best practices aimed at addressing food insecurity and economic hardship within their own staff and the populations they serve.
  • Use the findings to create toolkits that will connect struggling Mainers with resources and services to improve food security.
  • Develop and engage partnerships to build support and awareness of the toolkits and encourage implementation with the goal of reducing food insecurity.
  • Identify best practices for fundraising efforts by Maine credit unions for the Maine Credit Union League’s long-standing Campaign for Ending Hunger and develop new ideas to increase and improve those efforts.

Program Benefits:

  • Relocation allowance
  • Living allowance
  • Health coverage (http://www.vistacampus.gov/healthcare)
  • Training
  • Choice of education award or end of service stipend
  • Childcare assistance if eligible