WESTBROOK, ME – With the spread of COVID-19 and social distancing in place, many Mainers find themselves out of work or working remotely with children home due to school closings. Many of Maine’s school children depend on school meals for their nutrition and in this current crisis may be forced to go hungry. To support families in need, the Maine Bankers Association has rallied 34Maine banks – listed below – to raise $61,000 in a matter of hours to support food pantries throughout the state.
“Leading the charge to assist Maine communities is not new territory for our banks. At the core of all banking is service, in good times and in bad,” said Chris Pinkham, President and CEO of Maine Bankers Association. “We pledge to work together to help our communities weather this storm by providing some relief to our neighbors in need.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service 13.6 percent of Maine households were food insecure in 2019 – a rate far higher than the national average of 11.7 percent. Additionally, 1 in 5 Maine children go to bed hungry every day with 80,000 Maine school-aged children eligible for free and reduced priced meals in our state’s schools. In the current crisis, that number could increase dramatically as families face difficult decisions and may have to prioritize other expenses over food.
Conversation Leads to Quick Action
According to the Maine Banker’s Association, two bank presidents were on the phone discussing the immense challenges many Maine families are facing due to self-quarantine efforts. Conversation lead to quick action and outreach to Maine’s banking leaders and within eight (8) hours each of the 34 banks committed funds from their charitable giving program to collectively raise the $61,000. The Maine Bankers Association fundraising campaign, called Let’s Feed Maine, will continue through the end of March, into April.
Challenge to Other Industries to Help
Maine Bankers are now challenging other trade associations across the state and banking associations across the country to band together, target food insecurity or another passion, and do their part to help those in need during this unprecedented time. According to Pinkham, “We are in this together as a state and as a country.”
Current Participants in the #LetsFeedME Campaign
The banks involved in the campaign include: Androscoggin Bank, Aroostook County Federal, Atlantic Trust, LLC, Auburn Savings Bank, FSB, Bangor Savings Bank, Bank of America, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, Bar Harbor Savings & Loan, Bath Savings Institution, Camden National Bank, Damariscotta Bank & Trust Company, First Federal Savings & Loan of Bath, First National Bank, Franklin Savings Bank, Gorham Savings Bank, HM Payson, Katahdin Trust Company, Kennebec Federal Savings, Kennebec Savings Bank, Kennebunk Savings, KeyBank N.A., Machias Savings Bank, Maine Community Bank, NBT Bank, Northeast Bank, Norway Savings Bank, People’s United Bank, Portland Trust, Rockland Savings Bank, FSB, Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution, Partners Bank, Skowhegan Savings Bank, Spinnaker Trust, and TD Bank, N.A..
About the Maine Bankers Association
The Maine Bankers Association (MBA) represents Maine’s banking industry and its 9000 employees statewide. Maine’s 30 retail banks operate 463 offices in nearly every community throughout the state, where they assist Maine’s citizens and businesses with financial decisions that improve the quality of life for everyone. With assets exceeding $32 billion, the Maine banking industry serves as the economic engine for our state.