On Tuesday, February 11, more than 100 representatives from Maine’s credit unions were joined by Miss Sue Mitchell, a memorable character from the award-winning movie, The Blind Side, and who was portrayed in the film by Oscar-winner Kathy Bates, in announcing that the 2013 Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger raised a record-setting $513,309.19.  This represents an increase of more than $42,000 over 2012’s record-setting total.  The announcement was made at a special ceremony held at The Marriott in South Portland.

Miss Sue Mitchell tutored Michael Oher, the film’s main character, from a .6 GPA to a 2.05 in high school, and finally to a 3.75 Dean’s List student in college.  Today, Oher is a standout tackle for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, 2013 Superbowl Champions.  Mitchell has 14 former students currently playing in the NFL.  In her remarks, Miss Sue stressed the importance of “helping others, whether it is tutoring or making sure someone has enough to eat.  What Maine’s credit unions are doing in helping to end hunger is remarkable.  I can’t imagine not having enough food to eat but, throughout the country and I have learned throughout the state, that far too many people struggle with hunger every day.  You are making a difference and the people of Maine are better off because the work and passion you are doing on behalf of hunger.”  Mitchell said one of the primary lessons from The Blind Side is in the words uttered by Leigh Anne Touhy, Oher’s adopted mother, and those are “Turn Around.”  “Leigh Anne told her husband to turn around when she saw Michael Oher walking on the street.  People have choices in life; you can turn around or drive on by.  Thank you Maine credit unions for turning around to fight hunger in Maine.  As a former teacher, I know that a first-grader can’t learn to read if she doesn’t have enough to eat, or a third-grader can’t do a math problem if his stomach is rumbling.  I am so impressed by what you are doing with new initiatives to fight childhood hunger, such as providing significant funding to help expand the backpack programs in schools across the state.  All people who are hungry need our help, but the children especially do,” Mitchell added, her voice crackling.

John Murphy, President of the Maine Credit Union League, remarked on how far the campaign has come since it began back in 1990.  “In the first year,  credit unions raised $24,000 to end hunger in Maine.  Today, that total has grown to $513,000 raised in 2013 alone.  This Campaign is a testament to what can be accomplished by cooperating and coming together for a cause.  Maine credit unions are about helping others, whether it’s by providing financial services or raising funds to make sure their neighbors have enough to eat including the one in four Maine children who, often times, do not know where their next meal is going to come from.  I applaud the choice of Maine’s credit unions back in 1990 to take on this issue and, through your leadership, our fundraising efforts continue to grow each year.”

In addition to setting a single-year, fundraising total, the Maine Credit Unions’ Campaign for Ending Hunger topped the $5 million mark in funds raised since the Campaign began in 1990, with $5.3 million having been raised in the Campaign’s twenty-four year history.  100% of all funds raised stay in Maine and go directly to help end hunger.