WESTBROOK, Maine — The Maine Bankers Association rallied 34 Maine Banks within hours and raised $61,000 to support food pantries across the state of Maine.

A phone conversation between two bank presidents led to quick action. 34 banks committed funds from their charitable giving program to raise the money to be donated. The fundraising campaign, called Let's Feed Maine, will continue into April.

Maine Bankers are challenging other trade associations across the state to work together, target food insecurity or similar need and do their part to help those in need.

“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,” Chris Pinkham, President and CEO of Maine Bankers Association, said. “We pledge to work together to help our communities weather this storm by providing some relief to our neighbors in need.”

Statistics show that 13.6 percent of Maine households faced food insecurity in 2019- far more than the national average, which sits at 11.7 percent. 80,000 Maine school-age children are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch programs. Sadly, reports indicate that 1 in 5 Maine children go to bed hungry.

That number is likely to go up as Maine families face uncertainty in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. As COVID-19 begins to widen in Maine and social distancing is advised, families find themselves out of work or working from home. With the closings of schools, many children who depend on a nutritious meal while at school may be forced to go hungry.

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“We are in this together as a state and as a country,” Pinkham said.

A list of banks involved in the #LetsFeedMe Campaign includes:

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..

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