SOUTH PORTLAND — Maine’s credit unions raised a record $446,929 for their annual Campaign for Ending Hunger.

The results were announced at a recent gathering at South Portland’s Marriott Hotel featuring remarks by award-winning author Ernest Thompson, writer of the classic film “On Golden Pond.”

At the event, credit unions were recognized for their success in raising the most ever funds to help end hunger in Maine. This year’s total represents an 11 percent increase, or nearly $45,000, from last year’s record. The funds will enable food organizations to buy $5 million worth of food, which will provide more than 1.5 million meals to hungry Mainers, said John Murphy, president of the Maine Credit Union League.

“The generosity of the over 615,000 credit union members in Maine is extraordinary,” Murphy said in a news release. “This marks the sixteenth consecutive year that the campaign has raised a record-setting total, and the milestone of the campaign surpassing the $4 million mark in funds raised since the campaign began – a remarkable effort in such a challenging economy.”

More than 100 people attended Monday’s event. The keynote address was given by Thompson, who won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for writing “On Golden Pond,” which is based on his summers at Belgrade Lakes in Maine.

At the event, Thompson praised Maine’s credit unions for “taking time to help the people next door – your neighbors.” In his speech, Thompson recounted the life of a family who lived next door to him in rural New Hampshire that often didn’t have enough to eat.

“Your willingness to do the work it takes to be generous and help people have enough to eat takes courage and integrity, especially when you’ve had no training for it,” Thompson told his audience. “I admire your kindness and generosity in crossing the bridge for the people next door, and offering your help. I am proud to be here to today to celebrate the fruits of your extraordinary efforts. Congratulations to Maine’s credit unions.”

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