United Way of Eastern Maine to aid with increased heating costs

Posted Oct. 25, 2011, at 4:35 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The United Way of Eastern Maine is pitching in to help people across the state stay warm this winter. It’s starting a fundraiser called Keeping Maine Families Warm in conjunction with its existing Neighbors Helping Neighbors initiative.

“We’re really excited about this new program,” United Way of Eastern Maine President John Kuropchak said at a news conference Tuesday morning.

Dysart’s and Fosters On the Run are chipping in for the Keeping Maine Families Warm fundraiser, as both stores are taking part in an in-store fundraiser to raise money for emergency fuel funding.

All customers have to do is purchase a piece of paper in the shape of a small blue house. The money raised will be distributed by United Way partners, including Aroostook County’s Helping Neighbors Program, Penquis, Waldo Community Action Partners and Washington Hancock Community Agency.

“We’re asking for a donation of a dollar or two each,” said Kuropchak. “Folks can write their name and it’ll be mounted around the store during that period.”

The Neighbors Helping Neighbors fund was created in 2008 to engage and mobilize community organizations, local governments, faith-based groups, individuals, schools and businesses to address challenging energy issues in ways that meet specific community needs.

“It’s our hope that through these two projects that we can make the winter safe and warm for those in our community that are vulnerable,” said Kuropchak. “Those are families with young children.”

Kuropchak also expressed gratitude to Tim Dysart and his family, along with Bob Foster and his team at R.H. Foster for getting involved in the program.

The blue houses were available Tuesday at Dysart’s and R.H. Foster locations throughout eastern Maine. Donations can be made through the end of December.

Small-grant funds are available through the Neighbors Helping Neighbors program to communities within the United Way of Eastern Maine region, which includes Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Waldo and Washington counties.

The maximum grant amount is $2,500, and those wishing to obtain an application for the fund or to donate can visit www.unitedwayem.org or contact 941-2800 and ask for Karen Tolstrup.

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