Credit union gives $26k to area food pantries

FORT KENT, Maine — Acadia Federal Credit Union welcomed more than 300 people on Sunday, June 11, to their annual meeting and membership appreciation picnic, held at the Lion’s Pavilion at Fort Kent’s Riverside Park.

Alecia Rafford of Acadia Federal Credit Union’s Ashland branch paints Madyson Jean’s face during the credit union’s annual meeting and membership appreciation picnic, held in Fort Kent June 11. Madyson is the daughter of Jesse and Melissa Jean of Fort Kent. The Ashland Food Pantry and other food pantries received donations totaling $26,000 from the FCU’s End Hunger campaign. (Contributed photo)

Members attended the meeting and a presentation of over $26,000 to representatives from area food pantries and food assistance programs. The group enjoyed a free picnic lunch, popcorn, prizes, gifts and entertainment.

President/CEO David Desjardins delivered the credit union’s financial report. Cash prizes were awarded to 16 randomly drawn members and Kelsie Jarrett of Fort Kent won the grand prize, a cedar log tête-à-tête chair valued at $240. Ashley Stevens of Frenchville won $281 as part of a 50/50 raffle, with an additional $281 going to the 2017 Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger fundraising efforts.

Desjardins presented checks to representatives from area food pantries and food assistance programs.

Nearly all of Maine’s credit unions participate in the Maine Credit Union Campaign for Ending Hunger each year. In 2016, Acadia FCU placed fifth in the state for money raised with $26,140, surpassing their previous fundraising record. All money was distributed locally. Representatives of First Assembly of God Food Pantry, St. John Vianney Parish Food Pantry, Aroostook Area Agency on Aging/Meals on Wheels program, Greater Fort Kent Ecumenical Food Pantry and Notre Dame du Mont Carmel Food Pantry were on hand to receive funds, while representatives from Our Lady of the Valley and Ashland food pantries received checks off-site a few days earlier.

“It was great to see such an amazing turnout for our annual meeting and picnic,” said Desjardins. “To be able to publicly distribute over $26,000 to our local food pantries was just awesome. We are fortunate to have so many generous members and hard-working staff who come together to raise money for this important cause.”

All Acadia FCU members and family in attendance were treated to a free picnic of hamburgers and hot dogs. The children had a variety of sources of entertainment, including a face painting booth, bouncy house, and daytime fireworks. These fireworks exploded into puffs of colored smoke, releasing parachutes from the sky, which the kids chased and caught. Anah Shrine clowns also milled about, twisting balloons into animals, hats, flowers, and more, keeping kids entertained during the meeting and picnic.

“It is absolutely fabulous to feel so much energy around one event,” said Luis Sanclemente, Vice President of Acadia FCU. “The staff gets so excited to put on the annual meeting and picnic for the members, and it is evident that the members truly enjoy it! It really shows how strong the community spirit is among our staff and members alike.” 

Acadia FCU plans to host a similar event in the summer of 2018. Fundraising for the 2017 Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger is well underway.

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