In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., members of the University of Maine community will pack between 20,000 and 30,000 meals for distribution to local food pantries on Jan. 23.

The university recently was awarded a $1,800 grant from Iowa Campus Compact to aid the MLK Day of Service Community Partnership Project.

The project is a partnership between the UMaine Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism, Honors College and Office of Multicultural Student Life, as well as the University of Maine at Augusta Bangor campus.

About 150 volunteers, including students, staff and faculty from both campuses and representatives from local food pantries, are needed to pack and distribute the meals from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Old Town. Volunteers can register online.

End Hunger NE, the New England regional office for Outreach, Inc., will provide ingredients and equipment. The organization also helps with UMaine packing events during Welcome Weekend. The Knights of Columbus Hall is donating the use of the facility.

“Hunger is an issue that impacts our students as well as our communities,” says Lisa Morin, coordinator of the Bodwell Center. “Our students asked for the opportunity to serve not just their fellow students, but also the entire community. Through this project we will bring two campuses together to feed thousands of people during the post-holiday season, which typically is hard for food pantries.”


The project has budgeted for 20,000 meals, and is hoping grants, such as the Iowa Campus Compact award, and fundraising efforts will increase the amount to 30,000 meals.

The Iowa Campus Compact grant is supported by federal funds from the Corporation for National and Community Service. Nearly $85,000 was awarded to fund higher education community projects fighting hunger and serving veterans. The projects are being coordinated by 62 Campus Compact member colleges and universities in 25 states.

UMaine, the only institution in the state to receive the grant, belongs to Maine Campus Compact, a coalition of 18 member campuses, whose goal is to catalyze and lead a movement to reinvigorate the public purposes and civic mission of higher education.

“Campus Compact member institutions across the country have a strong history of honoring the work of Martin Luther King Jr. through service in their communities,” said Emily Shields, executive director of Iowa Campus Compact. “These funds will create even more opportunities for colleges and universities to build new partnerships and strengthen existing ones.”

More information about the MLK Day of Service projects and grants is online. Donations for the UMaine event can be made through the Bodwell Center.

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