BANGOR, Maine — Shortly after Stephen King issued his community challenge to assist elderly, disabled and disadvantaged LIHEAP recipients in Maine, the Lerner Foundation reached out to the staff at Zone Radio asking how they could help.
“We were flabbergasted by the severity of the cuts to heating assistance and we were delighted that the Lerner Foundation was interested in the same thing we were — helping to keep our neighbors warm,” said station manager Bobby Russell.
Eliot Cutler, president and chairman of the board of the Lerner Foundation, said, “The Kings’ generous offer and Pat LaMarche’s efforts to publicize the need for matching funds compelled a generous response from the foundation. We were impressed that the stations were able to raise $24,000 from an area of Maine that already has given so much to help others. This is a tough time to raise money even for the most worthy causes, and in Maine few needs are as acute as keeping folks warm in the winter.
“When we convened, the Lerner Foundation board of directors voted unanimously to complete the match so that none of the Kings’ generous offer would be left unmatched,” said Cutler.
Stephen King’s response to the news that he would be writing a $70,000 check after all was, “Sheer delight! Lots of people are going to be warm this winter because the foundation stepped up.”
With the $46,000 provided by the Lerner Foundation, the total distributed through Penquis, Washington Hancock Community Agency and Waldo CAP agencies is currently a little more than $141,000.
While Maine remains greatly in need of other solutions to the problem posed by losing $30 million dollars in LIHEAP funding, the efforts made by the community partnered with the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation as well as the Lerner Foundation means that approximately 38,000 gallons of oil will be made available to Help Keep ME Warm.