Last week, I volunteered with the Credit Union Crusaders of the Maine Credit Union League at Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn, ME. Our 12-person team assisted with sorting donations and packing Senior Brown Bags, a program that is part of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program administered by the USDA. At the end of the day, we were told that we managed to process 5,047 pounds of food and packaged 439 of the Senior Brown Bags! I was on an assembly line team and was surprised at how quickly so much can get done.
With more than 40% of Maine children under the age of 12 showing evidence of hunger, it’s important to have places like Good Shepherd Food Bank that gather and distribute food to those in need. In 2015, Good Shepherd distributed 23 million pounds of food to over 600 partner hunger relief organizations in every county in the state, and is affiliated with Feeding America, a nationwide network of member food banks that work together to end hunger.
Good Shepherd has been working to eliminate hunger in Maine for 35 years. JoAnn and Ray Pike noticed the amount of food being wasted locally in 1981 and got the initial funding of $6,000 from a walk-a-thon. They started the organization in the garage of their home and soon moved to a mill in Lewiston after the quantity of donated food soon outgrew the space. Hannaford, Walmart Superstores, Shaw’s, B&M Beans and many more companies soon opted to contribute their products to Good Shepherd Food Bank. Today, Good Shepherd operates out of a 53,000 square foot space in Auburn, along with their 40,000 square foot building in Hampden, purchased in 2015 to better serve the northeastern part of the state.
Credit unions are there for the community – and Maine credit unions have collectively raised $6.5 million towards ending hunger since the Maine Credit Union Campaign for Ending Hunger began in 1990. That’s 26 years! Last year, the Campaign raised a record-breaking $622,933. Whether it’s hosting an event that benefits the Ending Hunger Campaign, or volunteering at Good Shepherd Food Bank, Maine credit unions are making a difference. 100% of the proceeds from the Ending Hunger Campaign stay right here in Maine and helps the Good Shepherd Food Bank and other hunger relief organizations across the state continue to do their part in changing the lives of others.
Days like this one remind me of why credit unions are so special, and that I couldn’t be happier where I am. I met with some amazing volunteers, who were extremely welcoming and helpful throughout the day. I can’t wait to volunteer with Good Shepherd again and encourage you to get involved too!
Where do you volunteer? Let me know!