Franklin Countys First News

Ending Hunger on Campus Campaign supports the Thrifty Beaver

The Thrifty Beaver is one of the college campus food pantries receiving funding from UCU's Ending Hunger on Campus Campaign.

ORONO - University Credit Union will match up to $25,000 in donations to its third annual Ending Hunger on Campus Campaign, taking place across the state Nov. 25 through Dec. 31.

Mainers are among the most food insecure populations in the country, and college students are no exception. Data from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture puts Maine first in New England for food insecurity and seventh in the nation overall. Feeding America reports that over 172,650 Mainers are struggling with hunger. While the need among college students in Maine is not definitively known, a 2018 national survey of more than 86,000 two- and four-year college students found that 45 percent of respondents were food insecure in the prior 30 days.

First launched in 2017, the Ending Hunger on Campus Campaign has raised over $33,262 to-date for campus food pantries in Maine. Collectively, campus food pantries within the University of Maine System self-reported serving, on average, more than 200 individuals per week.

“Funding from initiatives like Ending Hunger on Campus can go a very long way for campus food pantries, which depend on outside donations and volunteered time," interim UCU CEO Deb White-Rideout said. “We can all play a part in helping college students stay fed and focused.”

Anyone can participate in the Ending Hunger on Campus Campaign – credit union membership is not required. Donations can be made at any UCU branch, through the mail, over the phone, or conveniently online with a credit card at Donors can elect to direct their gift to a specific pantry, if desired; donations not designated as such will be evenly distributed among the recipients.

While most students can enjoy campus life, there are many others for whom pursuing a college degree is a struggle, especially first-generation and non-traditional students with families. Accessing traditional community assistance is not always feasible for those who live on campus, often because of transportation challenges, confidentiality concerns or a lack of awareness that help is available off-campus. This has led to an emergence of student-led, on-campus food pantries around the country, including in Maine. Campus food pantries have proven to be an effective stopgap measure against student food insecurity.

This year, the Ending Hunger on Campus Campaign will benefit the following campus food pantries:

The Black Bear Exchange at the University of Maine in Orono; assists 20 people per week
Thrifty Beaver Co-op at the University of Maine at Farmington; assists 15 people per week
Bengal’s Outreach Food Pantry at the University of Maine at Fort Kent; assists 25 people per month
UMPI Emergency Food Pantry at the University of Maine at Presque Isle; assists 30 per week
The Well at the University of Southern Maine; assists 20 people per day
UMA Community Cupboard at University of Maine at Augusta; assists 15-20 people per week
Food for Thought at UMA Bangor; assists 20 people per week
UMM F.O.O.D Club at University of Maine at Machias; assists 30-75 people per week

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