Recently, Maine credit unions, through their “Campaign for Ending Hunger,” presented $17,000 — one of the largest, single-day contributions to multiple hunger organizations ever in Maine — to 33 hunger organizations throughout the state.

To bring awareness to the issue of hunger in Maine, and the acute need for food for Maine’s 65,000 school children during summer vacation, the seventh annual “Share the Bread” event was created by Maine’s credit unions to recognize the efforts of food pantries across the state and to provide significant financial assistance to food pantries in every Maine county.

Representatives from two food pantries in each of Maine’s eight northernmost counties received two types of bread: the kind used for toast, and the kind used to buy food, with a check for $500 from the Maine credit unions’ “Campaign for Ending Hunger” in a ceremony at Good Shepherd Food-Bank’s Distribution Center in Brewer.

A similar ceremony was held with representatives from food pantries in Maine’s eight southernmost counties earlier that morning at the Good Shepherd Food-Bank’s Portland Warehouse, where bread and checks were presented to 16 more food pantries. Good Shepherd Food-Bank also received a total of $1,000 during the day.

Jon Paradise, Governmental & Public Affairs Manager for the Maine Credit Union League, said that “Share the Bread” was created not only to increase the amount of food available to Maine communities, but also to bring attention to an issue afflicting many Maine citizens.

“Maine’s credit unions are about ‘people helping people’ and sharing the bread is an extension of this philosophy,” he said, in a press release. “In these difficult economic times, it is important for Maine people to know that hunger does exist in our state, in every county and every community. As we recognize the significance of hunger in Maine and, most specifically, feeding a number of Maine’s children during summer vacation when there are not meals provided at school, Maine’s credit unions will provide resources to help organizations in each county make a positive impact on thousands of people in Maine.”

The following food pantries from Waldo County received donations:

• Searsport Congregational/Methodist Food Pantry, in Searsport

• Volunteer Regional Food Pantry, in Unity