SACO — In a year when many Maine families have struggled to put food on the table due to the economic fallout of the pandemic, Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution (SBSI) is continuing its efforts to help end school hunger. The bank will donate $17,982 to school nutrition programs in York and Cumberland counties through its Community Debit Card Program, providing meals for students in Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach, Saco, Scarborough, South Portland and Westbrook.
Even before COVID-19, Maine had the highest food insecurity rate in New England, at 13.6 percent. But the pandemic has put more people at risk. According to Feeding America, 1 in 8 people in Maine struggle with hunger, along with 1 in 5 children. Statewide, these numbers are expected to increase by the end of the year as the pandemic surges and the economic recovery stalls. Hunger relief programs have also seen the demand for their services grow sharply.
“Hunger in our communities has become more prevalent because of the pandemic, but no child should have to wonder where their next meal is going to come from,” said Bob Quentin, president and CEO of SBSI. “It is our responsibility to do our part to help. We’re grateful for our customers, who continue to support the Community Debit Card Program and show their commitment in helping to keep our students fed.”
Donations to the program are primarily generated every time SBSI customers swipe their Community Debit Cards for non-ATM transactions. This year’s total of nearly $18,000 marks an increase of more than 25 percent compared to 2019, when the bank raised $14,299. In total, the program has raised more than $37,700 over three years.
As an additional effort to help end hunger, SBSI will be matching up to $10,000 in donations made by customers participating in online banking to the Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine. SBSI recently partnered with the GoodCoin Foundation to implement its Charitable Giving Platform, allowing customers to directly donate to local nonprofits through the online banking portal.
To learn more about the Community Debit Card Program and the bank’s GoodCoin Charitable Giving Platform, visit https://www.sbsavings.bank/holiday-giving/.