ORONO — A total of $22,867.76 was raised and distributed between eight campus food pantries around the state because of the successful third year of the annual Ending Hunger on Campus in Maine Campaign. The campaign spotlights the important role of student-led food pantries in combating food insecurity, and raising critically-needed donations for self-funded, student-run food pantries located across the University of Maine System, according to a news release from the University Credit Union.

In February, the credit union traveled throughout the state to present the proceeds of this year’s campaign to representatives from the following food pantries:

• $8,023.78 to the Black Bear Exchange at the University of Maine in Orono — assists 25 people per week;
• $3,740.12 to the USM Food Pantry at the University of Southern Maine in Portland — assists 20 people per day;
• $2,820.12 to the Thrifty Beaver Pantry at the University of Maine at Farmington — assists 15 people per week;
• $3,677.74 to the UMPI Emergency Food Pantry at the University of Maine at Presque Isle — assists 20 people per month;
• $700 to Food for Thought at the University of Maine at Augusta-Bangor— assists 15 people per week;
• $2,096 to the Bengal’s Outreach Kitchen at the University of Maine at Fort Kent— assists 30 people per month;
• $1,010 to UMA Community Cupboard at the University of Maine at Augusta — assists 20 people per week; and
• $800 to the UMM F.O.O.D. Club at the University of Maine at Machias — assists 30 people per week.

Between November and December the credit union matched every dollar donated to the Ending Hunger on Campus in Maine Campaign. Donors could elect a specific campus food pantry to receive their donation.

“Moments like this remind us that Maine is truly a ‘big’ small town, where businesses, neighbors and strangers don’t hesitate to step up for those in need. Student food pantries are a particularly great example of Mainers seeing a problem and taking it on, as these campus food pantries are almost entirely self-funded and run by volunteers who themselves are students,” said Renee Ouellette, president and CEO of UCU. “While many students enjoy the traditional college experience, the reality is there are many students for whom college is a particular challenge of balancing finances, family, and school, especially so for the growing number of first-generation students and adult learners. On behalf of University Credit Union, thank you to everyone who contributed to making this year’s campaign another great success.”

To date, the credit union has raised more than $56,000 for campus food pantries in Maine.

For more information on Ending Hunger on Campus in Maine, visit ucu.maine.edu.