Campus food insecurity spotlighted in University Credit Union campaign

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Thrifty Beaver Co-op at the University of Maine at Farmington received a $500 kickoff donation from the University Credit Union. From left are UMF students Alexis Saulnier, Kaeley Stewart and Kaylee Bilodeau; Beth Beaudoin, UCU Farmington Branch Manager; and Luke Kellett, assistant professor of anthropology and sustainability coordinator, UMF. (Courtesy photo)

FARMINGTON — The Thrifty Beaver Co-op at the University of Maine at Farmington is one of five campus food pantries in the university system to receive funding through a University Credit Union campaign.

Through the month of December, UCU is shining a light on food insecurity on Maine campuses and rallying support for University of Maine System campus food pantries as they approach their busy winter season.

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According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maine ranks first in New England for food insecurity and seventh in the nation overall. Consequently, college students in Maine are especially vulnerable to the negative impact that food insecurity has on academic achievement. 

Feeding America, a national network of food banks that studies food insecurity, found that 49.3 percent of its clients in college reported having to choose between food and expenses such as books, tuition and rent).

While the total need among all Maine students is not known, there are many who are already receiving assistance. Through the generosity of its members and others, UCU intends to raise at least $7,500 in donations and food, and is kick-starting the campaign with a donation of $500 to each pantry. Thrifty Beaver Co-op at UMF assists 15 people per week

Through the month of December, donations of nonperishable food suitable for student living facilities (snacks, cereal, microwavable meals) will be collected at UCU locations across the state. Monetary donations can be made by calling 800-696-8628, by mail to UCU or at any UCU location. Donors may elect to specify a campus food pantry of their choosing; any donations not designated as such will be equally distributed among the five pantries.

For more information on the campaign and to learn more about the campus food pantries, please visitwww.ucu.maine.edu/endinghungeroncampus.

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