What started as an idea on the part of Maine’s credit unions to raise funds and awareness about the problem of hunger among Maine people, has now raised over $1.32 million dollars to help end hunger in Maine. The Campaign surpassed the $1 million mark in funds raised in 2002 and is now expecting to surpass $1.5 million in funds raised by the end of this year. One hundred percent of all funds raised stays in Maine and goes directly to ending hunger.

Coordinated by the Maine Credit Union League’s Social Responsibility Committee, the award-winning Campaign for Ending Hunger was initiated by Credit Unions as a way to reach out as a movement to address a chronic problem, the fact that a high percentage of Maine’s population is defined as food insecure. In its first year, the Campaign raised a little under $25,000. The 2002 Campaign raised $193,624, setting a new record.

Partners In Ending Hunger, a Maine-based organization that is nationally recognized in its efforts to help end hunger, calls the efforts of Maine’s credit unions “an example of being truly committed and dedicated to a cause.” Charlie Frair, Executive Director of Partners In Ending Hunger, explained, “Without Maine’s credit unions, many more Maine people would be hungry. The Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger enables hundreds of hunger organizations throughout the State to feed, literally, thousands of Maine people, many of them families. In addition, the level of consciousness and awareness that hunger does exist in Maine has been significantly increased since Maine’s credit unions adopted this cause back in 1990.”

Jon Paradise, Manager of Governmental and Public Affairs at the Maine Credit Union League, recognized the collective efforts of Maine’s credit unions in what they can accomplish each year. “With the economic situation in many parts of Maine, more and more people rely on assistance in order to feed their families,” he added. “In fact, recent statistics indicate that one in four Maine children are defined as ‘food insecure,’ and 10% of our total population fall into that same category. We are proud of the fact that, through the support and commitment of Maine’s credit unions, we have raised over $1.32 million and been able to make a positive impact on the lives of thousands of Maine people, especially children. The Credit Union movement in Maine looks forward to continuing to make a difference with this Campaign for years to come. People usually think of the problem of hunger as a global problem that only exists in a third world country but it is a local problem that thousands of people in our own state face everyday.”

Paradise also pointed out that 100% of all of the money raised through the Campaign goes directly to helping Maine’s hungry and the fact that all of the money raised stays in Maine means “we are truly helping our friends and neighbors.”

The Maine Credit Union League is the State Trade Association for Maine’s 77- Credit Unions providing a variety of services and products to assist Credit Unions in meeting the needs of their membership.

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