BANGOR, Maine — Despite tough economic times in the region, United Way of Eastern Maine expects to raise at least $2.1 million to support families and individuals in its five-county service area by the end of its 2011 campaign.
The fundraising grand total announced Thursday evening during a campaign finale celebration at Darlings Ford was only 2 percent, or about $40,000, short of the $2.153 million goal set for the current campaign, United Way spokesman Adam Lacher said during the event.
United Way representatives hope to see most or all of the balance trickle in from now through the end of the fiscal year in late June, Lacher said.
The campaign’s proceeds will help more than 55,000 families and individuals in Penobscot, Piscataquis, Washington, Hancock and Waldo counties. This year,
6,214 individual donors and 310 local businesses participated in the fundraising effort, led by chairman Brian Donahue of Affiliated Healthcare Systems.
Among the highlights of each year’s finale is the award of major prizes. Those who gave $5 a week or more to United Way were entered into a drawing for a new 2012 Ford Focus donated by Darling’s. James Cook, an employee of UPS, won the car.
Bree Hewes, who works for Hannaford, won 500 gallons of R.H. Foster heating oil in a drawing open to those who contributed $3 a week or more. Darlings employee Jake Perry won a $500 L.L. Bean gift card in a drawing for those who gave $2 a week or more to United Way.
United Way works to improve communities throughout eastern Maine by supporting work in the areas of education, income and health.
It provides funding for 68 health and human service programs that give children a smart start in life, help seniors maintain their independence and health, give teens the skills and confidence to make positive life choices and provide resources to those in crisis.
Although United Way celebrated its finale Thursday, the fundraising campaign doesn’t end until June. To donate or for information about the United Way, call 941-2800 or visit www.unitedwayem.org.