With help from community, Paradis family, United Way of Aroostook reaches campaign goal

Posted June 23, 2011, at 10:03 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — With the last-minute support of community members and the help of a family that owns a number of County grocery stores, the United Way of Aroostook has reached its 2010 campaign target, despite the lofty goal it set in tough economic times.

Last October, the United Way of Aroostook kicked off its annual campaign with a paper balloon launch in the heart of Presque Isle. Despite the struggling economy, the UWA set a $520,000 financial goal, a target $20,000 higher than the previous year.

The United Way of Aroostook works to support The County’s most needy people. Money raised through the UWA’s annual campaign supports local agencies that administer programs to assist at-risk youths, the elderly, homeless and many others.

Claudia Stevens, executive director of the UWA, said earlier this week that it was a “difficult year” for fundraising, with donations through its workplace campaign giving program down.

“We really didn’t think that we were going to reach our goal,” she said.

Still, UWA officials were hoping that the last event of the fiscal year, the Paradis Shop ‘N Save benefit golf scramble, would help them make their goal. Before the scramble, Stevens said, the campaign was at 98.5 percent of the target.

Despite a great turnout, the net profit was still $1,500 short of the goal.

That is when the Paradis family, which owns six grocery stores throughout the state, stepped in.

“When the Paradis family realized that we were only $1,500 away from reaching our $520,000 goal,” Stevens said, “the family got together and decided to add an additional $1,500 to ensure that we reached it. We are especially grateful to them for kicking in the extra funds so that we could officially say we reached our goal.”

Stevens said United Way is seeing increased support from the St. John Valley, where funding benefits such agencies as St. John Valley Associates, Hope and Justice Project, ACAP Child & Family Services, Catholic Charities Maine and Meals on Wheels.

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