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October 12, 2017

Maine credit unions make significant donation to fight childhood hunger

Courtesy / Maine Credit Union League
Courtesy / Maine Credit Union League
Pictured at the presentation of a $33,000 check from Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger to support Good Shepherd Food Bank's school backpack and pantry programs across Maine, are, from left, Shannon Coffin, coordinator of the School Backpack and Pantry programs for Good Shepherd; Darcie, a parent whose children utilize the pantry; Erin Fogg, vice president of development for Good Shepherd Food Bank; Bryan Litchfield of the Kennedy Kindergarten Center; and Todd Mason, president of the Maine Credit Union League.

Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger presented a check for $33,000, a portion of the record-setting $675,000 Maine's credit unions raised for ending hunger in 2016, to support the Good Shepherd Food Bank's school backpack and pantry programs across Maine.

The contribution was the second installment of a three-year, $100,000 pledge to help fight childhood hunger.

The check presentation was made at the John F. Kennedy Kindergarten Center in Biddeford, which has provided more than 43,000 meals to its student community since it started in 2013. The contribution will support existing schools as well as expand the program to additional schools across Maine in the coming months.

More than 100 participating schools

Todd Mason, president of the Maine Credit Union League, said the Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger's partnership with Good Shepherd Food Bank to combat the growing issue of childhood hunger has grown significantly over the past five years.

"When we began our partnership specifically focused on childhood hunger with Good Shepherd Food Bank in 2013, 15 schools were participating in the BackPack program," he said in a news release. "Our initial, three-year pledge of $75,000 helped the backpack program grow but also enabled Good Shepherd to launch its pilot school pantry site. By 2015, over 90 schools were involved and every county in the state had at least one backpack and/or school pantry program. Today, there are now 134 schools across Maine that are part of the Good Shepherd Food Bank's School Backpack and School Food Pantry Program. Last year, more than 600,000 meals were distributed through this program to these schools most vulnerable families,"

Shannon Coffin, who oversees the childhood hunger programs for Good Shepherd Food Bank, called the involvement of Maine's credit unions "crucial" in expanding the network of programs.

"Their multi-year pledges allowed us not only to start-up new sites, but sustain the efforts year to year at those schools as we worked to engage community donors and civic groups in their ongoing fundraising and volunteer needs," Coffin said. "In addition to providing start-up and sustaining funds for 30 of our partners over the past five years, Maine credit unions' leadership level gifts have ensured Good Shepherd Food Bank was able to support the needs of our expanding network through capacity-building grants, regular in person visits, training opportunities, and daily support for program coordinators."

Since 1990, the Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger has raised $7.2 million to help end hunger in Maine including a record-setting $675,000 raised in 2016. All contributions to the campaign are tax-deductible.

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