School Pantry Program Receives Boost from Maine’s Credit Unions

On Wednesday, December 19, the Maine Credit Union League joined representatives from Good Shepherd Food Bank at an assembly at the George J. Mitchell Elementary School in Waterville to recognize the positive impact the school’s Food Pantry/Backpack program is having to combat childhood hunger. During the assembly, the Maine Credit Union League presented Good Shepherd Food Bank a check for $33,000 to support their statewide youth programming aimed at alleviating hunger. The League also gave a $250 donation to the George J. Mitchell School’s Food Pantry.

“In 2016, the Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger proudly pledged a three-year, $100,000 contribution to support and expand Good Shepherd Food Bank’s School Backpack and School Pantry programs,” said Todd Mason, President/CEO of the Maine Credit Union League. “Since making our initial contribution, approximately 1,300 students from across the state have been sent home with healthy meals.  That’s a significant number – and I know Good Shepherd Food Bank will do everything it can to help feed even more children using this donation.”

The George J. Mitchell School has been working with Good Shepherd Food Bank since 2013. Through their collaboration, and with help from the Maine Credit Union League, Waterville School Department, parents, and students, the school has provided over 60,000 meals for local children and their families – including over 18,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables.

“When we began our efforts to fight hunger locally, the situation was dire,” said Allan Martin, Principal at George J. Mitchell School. “But thanks to support we’ve received from organizations like the Maine Credit Union League and Good Shepherd Food Bank, we are moving forward to help families. That’s why we wanted to host this assembly.  It’s our way of saying thanks, while also reminding the community that there’s still more work to be done.”

With support of contributors like the Maine Credit Union League, Good Shepherd Food Bank’s school-based initiatives have grown from one site serving 40 students in Portland in 2010, to 139 sites across every county in Maine, serving over 9,000 families in 2018. Last school year, Good Shepherd Food Bank distributed 1.2 million meals through these partnerships, reaching 1 million in a single school year for the first time.

“We are truly grateful for the assistance community partners like Maine’s credit unions have provided to our organization,” said Kristen Miale, President of Good Shepherd Food Bank. “Maine’s Credit Unions have been instrumental in ensuring the growth of both the School Backpack and School Pantry programs. We would not be where we are today without their assistance.”

Since 1990, the Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger has raised over $8 million, including a record-breaking $740,000 raised during 2017.

Event Media Coverage:

Newscenter Maine – Maine’s largest hunger relief organization receives final installment of $100,000 promise.

WABI TV – Maine Credit Union League makes big donation to local food bank.

The League receives a “thumbs-up” from a student at the George J. Mitchell School in Waterville following a check presentation to Good Shepherd Food Bank in the amount of $33k as part of Maine’s Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger.