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Holiday food drive nets 12,000 pounds

MADAWASKA, Maine  — NorState Federal Credit Union officials recently announced that the annual Hope for the Holidays Food Drive was a success. Despite the cold, local food pantries received more than 12,254 pounds of non-perishable items to stock their shelves.

NorState’s Ending Hunger Director and Ashland Loan Officer Debra Deprey commented, “In 2016, the food drive collected 10,398 record-setting pounds, but this year our neighbors and friends blew that total right out of the snow. The generosity of the people of the St. John River Valley especially, and The County as a whole, really pulled through in helping this year’s food drive excel.”

“In part, the success of the food drive is dependent on the generosity of people living here in Aroostook County or who may have ties to the County,” stated Denise Duperre, NorState’s executive marketing director.

“I was optimistic going into this year’s food drive, thinking if we could accomplish the same pounds or close to that of last year, it would be a blessing. I’m more than pleased with the totals — I’m overwhelmed with people’s generosity towards our neighbors in need. Without the cooperation of the participating merchants, the generosity of our neighbors and the spirit and County pride to do unto others as we’d have done unto us, we would not have such a great end result as this year’s,” Duperre said.

“This food drive doesn’t cost the food pantries a dime,” added Duperre. “When it started as just a small local drive back in 2004 and grew into a Valley-wide food drive in 2007, and reached down as far as Ashland in 2010 I knew we were on to something bigger than we could ever imagine.”

The food drive gives pantries the stock to fill the shelves for the upcoming winter, Duperre explained. Donations are weighed and drive officials report the information to the Maine Credit Union League in Westbrook, who totals all drives in a statewide initiative to end hunger in Maine.

Susan G. Whitehead, CEO of NorState FCU, stated, “Donors can take comfort in the fact that their donation of non-perishable food to the food drive remains local. Thanks to many food pantry volunteers, who tirelessly go around to the participating merchants to collect the donations for their respective pantry. They are the heart and soul of the food pantries, and truly are unsung heroes.”

The Hope for the Holidays Food Drive may have ended for 2017, but monetary donations are accepted year round and efforts to end hunger locally are ongoing.

Anyone can still donate toward the Ending Hunger Campaign, said Duperre, by mailing donations to NorState FCU, c/o Ending Hunger Campaign, 78 Fox St., Madawaska, ME 04756, or dropping them off at any branch office.

“All donations receive remain local and 100 percent goes back to the food pantry and the neighbors we help during tough times,” she said.

For more information about the Ending Hunger Campaign, call 1-800- 804-7555.

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