Message From Todd Mason: Leaders in Ending Hunger

In 2019, LD 1159 was passed. The legislation was entitled “Resolve to End Hunger in Maine by 2030,” which called on the Maine State Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) to draft a report to eliminate hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition in the state.  In response, DACF created the report, which was published in February 2020 and can be viewed here.

It provides an excellent foundation in building understanding of the scale of the problem and in setting two broad priorities needed to solve it: 1) ensure all people have consistent access to healthy, culturally appropriate food and 2) address systematic changes by eliminating root causes of hunger and food insecurity. It also defines a recommended process and group of stakeholders to develop a strategic plan needed to end hunger by 2030.

As part of Maine’s strong commitment to this important cause and in response to the report’s recommendations, DACF is creating a working group made up of community, governmental, business, educational, and philanthropic entities and other stakeholders to help develop the needed plan. Because of our long history, leadership, and track record in working to end hunger, we were invited to be part of the group. Work started this week and we have a target to submit a plan to the Governor later this year.

This is a big deal for addressing hunger and it is a big deal for Maine credit unions. To be at the table recognizes how important we are in solving food insecurity and the root causes behind it. Our work on this important cause cannot let up. In fact, we need to do more: raise more dollars and dedicate more time and more talent.

Right now, our immediate focus is on the 2021 $100,000 Challenge and we need your help to successfully complete it. Frankly, we simply are not where we need to be, especially when compared to our 2020 Challenge. Thank you to the 10 credit unions (last year we had 30+) and those of you individually (last year we had 311) that have already made a contribution to the Challenge. To those of you that haven’t yet, please consider it.  Also, promote it in social media channels and to your members using your individualized fundraising page, which you can continue to use even after the Challenge. Reach out to your business and community partners to encourage them to contribute.  And ask your staff and volunteers. Every little bit helps.

If we are going to surpass what we raised in 2020 for the Ending Hunger Campaign, the Challenge has to be successful, and we have to keep the momentum going and growing. If we slip, we’re letting down those that need our collective help at a time when they need it the most.