HOULTON, Maine — Operation Warm Inc., based in Philadelphia, with its partner Aid for Kids, based in Houlton, Maine has been named the finalist in the Tom’s of Maine 50 States for Good program, and now has a chance to win up to $50,000 to send new winter coats to more than 2,000 children in need. A public vote is under way at facebook.com/TomsofMaine from now until Tuesday, Oct. 9, to determine the contest winner.
The 50 States for Good program seeks to uncover local nonprofit groups that address urgent community needs and engage volunteers to get the work done. Operation Warm first partnered with Aid for Kids last winter when the Maine organization called seeking coats for the children they serve. The grassroots, all-volunteer agency serves rural Maine, where child poverty is more than 31 percent, unemployment is more than 10 percent and snowfall averages 97 inches each year. The two organizations partnered to enter 50 States for Good contest.
“A new coat means so much to these children in rural Maine, where the need is so great and the winters are so harsh. We invite all friends of Operation Warm to vote in this competition so we can send children coats through this extraordinary organization, Aid for Kids,” said Carey Palmquist, executive director of Operation Warm.
“Our partnership with Operation Warm has allowed us to offer high quality coats to low-income children across the state. Last year we received overwhelming thanks from grateful recipients, who said, ‘Thanks to you, we had warm kids this winter,’ and ‘The jackets flew out the door, the need was so great!’” said Dannette Ellis, vice president of Aid for Kids.
Fifty-one nonprofits from each state and Washington, D.C., were selected by an independent panel of judges. The public vote will determine one $50,000 first-prize winner, and five $20,000 second-prize winners. Tom’s of Maine is a longtime supporter of community involvement programs including clean waterways and greater access to affordable dental care, and donates 10 percent of its profits back to the community.
The public may vote once a day at facebook.com/TomsofMaine through Oct. 9. The coat project is listed under Aid for Kids in Maine. Winners will be announced Nov. 13.
Operation Warm accepts donations for its Maine Coat Program year-round at operationwarm/Maine.