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Updated: February 14, 2022

Maine credit unions raise $930K to fight hunger

Screen shot of Todd Mason and Dr. Shah Screenshot / Maine Credit Union League Todd Mason, president and CEO of the Maine Credit Union League, welcomes Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah to last week's virtual event.

Maine credit unions raised more than $930,000 in their latest annual campaign to combat hunger across the state, bringing the total raised since 1990 to more than $11.2 million.

Todd Mason, president and CEO of the Westbrook-based Maine Credit Union League, announced the $930,368 total for Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger in 2021, in a virtual event last week. A spokesperson for the nonprofit trade group said that around 125 people tuned in to the 45-minute video presentation.

"I don’t think anyone expected the pandemic to linger on for as long as it has, Mason said. “COVID-19 has not only impacted public health, but financial health as well. Fortunately, our credit unions have remained steadfast in their commitment to this incredible campaign and have once again demonstrated the power of their collaboration. I’m overwhelmed with pride over their fundraising accomplishments.”

The annual campaign provides funds to nonprofits including Auburn-based Good Shepherd Food Bank, Brunswick-based Full Plates Full Potential, along with colleges, food pantries and meal sites. All dollars raised by the campaign stay in Maine, according to the organizers.

In 2020, the credit unions raised a record $969,775 to combat hunger within the state.

“Credit unions are dedicated to making Maine a great place to live and work and in doing so, are deeply committed to ensuring people have access to healthy, nutritious meals,” said Tim Brooks, vice president of corporate marketing and communications at the Maine Credit Union League.

“This campaign is people helping people — a philosophy that all credit unions are deeply rooted in — which is why it’s an effort that all Maine credit unions get behind."

During the event, Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, pointed to the link between public health and hunger. "Food insecurity and hunger are fundamentally public health challenges in really not significantly different ways from the challenges that we're all accustomed to hearing about in public health," he said. "They all affect all strata of society, and the impacts are both immediate as well as long-term."

Noting that COVID exacerbated the hunger problem in Maine, Shah added that food security remains a significant concern.

Support for Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger comes from credit union members, employees, volunteers and local businesses, according to the Maine Credit Union League. Founded in 1938, the organization provides advocacy, education and other resources for its members.

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