University Credit Union Takes Big Bite Out of Hunger on Campus

Donation to the University of Maine Black Bear Exchange - From left to right: Derek Hebert, UCU Branch Manager; Jason Preble, UCU IT Manager; Lisa Morin, Coordinator of UMaine Black Bear Exchange; Jessica LaBelle, UCU MSR; Susan Crawford, UCU Branch Manager; Stacey Young, UCU Retail Services Manager.

ORONO, Maine – During a December initiative, University Credit Union (UCU) brought attention to the pervasive problem of food insecurity among college students in Maine by launching a statewide awareness campaign, raising more than $8,100 for the five University of Maine System (UMS)-based campus food pantries:

  • $1,098.84 to the Thrifty Beaver Co-op at the University of Maine at Farmington; assists 15 people per week
  • $1,157.84 to the Black Bear Exchange at the University of Maine in Orono; assists 20 people per week
  • $1,098.84 to the Bengal’s Outreach Food Pantry at the University of Maine at Fort Kent; assists 25 people per month
  • $1,098.84 to the Emergency Food Pantry at the University of Maine at Presque Isle; opened in September 2017
  • $1,189.04 to The Well at the University of Southern Maine; assists 20 people per day

Through the month of December, UCU branches collected donations from around the state, ultimately exceeding the fundraising goal by more than $600. UCU also engaged local media to establish a dialogue on the issue and inspire action, garnering more than 22 local media stories, including a letter published by the Portland Press Herald on December 24 by UCU President and CEO Matthew Walsh.

“No student should ever have to choose between going hungry and furthering his or her education. Yet, across Maine, college students are facing this decision every day,” wrote Walsh. “These pantries, however large or small, can mean the difference between a student leaving college for financial reasons and that student completing a degree and achieving his or her goals.”

Reflecting on the success of the campaign, Walsh hopes the effort will inspire further support for students facing food insecurity. “By raising awareness around this issue on campuses, we are hopeful that our future campaigns will only garner greater support for the food pantries and students year-round, as well as support from others in the community.”

As a longtime supporter of the Maine Credit Union League’s annual Campaign for Ending Hunger, UCU is committed to ending hunger for all Maine families and participates in many League-organized fundraisers throughout the year. Visit www.mainecul.org to learn more.

For more information on UCU’s Ending Hunger on Campus in Maine campaign, visit www.ucu.maine.edu/endinghungeroncampus.

About University Credit Union
Established on the University of Maine campus in 1967, University Credit Union is an innovative, full-service financial institution with a mission to actively advance the financial well-being of our members in every stage of their lives. UCU is the seventh largest credit union in Maine in terms of total assets and the third largest in terms of total members. UCU has nine retail locations across the state serving the University of Maine System students, employees, and alumni and their families primarily. Branches are located in Orono, Bangor, Farmington, Gorham, Portland, and Presque Isle. For more information visit ucu.maine.edu.