United We CAN food drive results in 28,500 meals, kicking off the 2019 campaign

On September 13, United Way of Greater Portland’s United We CAN food drive resulted in enough food to provide 28,500 meals—breaking the record for Maine’s largest one-day food drive for the third year in a row. The event officially kicks off the 2019 Campaign and featured food sculptures built by nineteen teams: 

The food collected for the sculptures and from other event attendees was donated to Wayside Food Programs–one of United Way of Greater Portland’s Funded Community Partners–to be distributed to food pantries throughout Cumberland County.

With the help of three judges and 1,100 votes from community members, awards were given to six sculpture teams.

Small + Mighty Award: RTS Packaging 
Rookie Award: Wright-Ryan Construction 
Best Meal Award: CCB Construction Services 
Best in Show: MaineHealth 
Community Choice Award: Martin’s Point Health Care 


In addition to the Monument Square event, downtown Portland businesses were encouraged to participate by building and displaying can sculptures in their street-front windows from September 9 to September 13. Visitors to those businesses voted all week, and the favorite was awarded the People’s Choice Award.

People’s Choice Window Award: Uncommon Paws 

“Thanks to caring supporters like you United Way of Greater Portland is celebrating our 90th anniversary this year. Though the issues we have faced as a community have changed in those 90 years, United Way has been here to help address those issues. It’s because of the caring support of people like you that have made that possible. And, it’s because of you we know that United Way is going to be here 90 years to come,” said Liz Cotter Schlax, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Portland.

At the event, Deanna Sherman, 2019 Campaign Chair and President and CEO of Dead River Company, announced an $8,400,000 goal for this year’s community fundraising campaign with the help of eight Loaned Executives. The Loaned Executives from Gorham Savings BankHannaford, L.L.BeanMaineHealth, Unum, and WEX work with United Way for nine weeks to help execute the campaign.

From the stage, Sherman emphasized that everyone in the community has a part to play: “The power of one is so important and everyone can make a difference. One hour, one dollar…the more people we can engage in the power of one, the better community we are going to be.”

News Coverage:

MaineBiz – United Way food-drive campaign off to a strong start
WGME – United Way turns cans into works of art before donating them to Maine food pantries
Portland Press Herald -Building awareness of food insecurity one can at a time