AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul R. LePage said he would shave his head if state employees and retirees raise $350,000 or more through the 34th annual Maine State Employees’ Combined Charitable Appeal.
LePage and Maine Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Patricia Aho, who is serving as chairman of the 2013 MSECCA campaign for the second year, kicked off the initiative on Friday in the Hall of Flags at the State House in Augusta, noting Maine’s tradition of neighbors helping neighbors.
LePage made his pledge to shave his head during the kick-off, according to governor’s office spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett.
“For more than three decades, Maine State employees and retirees have shown their generosity by contributing to MSECCA and have made an enormous impact in the lives of so many here in Maine and throughout the world. Mainers have a long history of recognizing families that are less fortunate need a hand-up. By working together we can make a difference and strengthen the state we all so love,” said LePage, according to a press release.
During its 33-year history, more than $6 million has been raised through MSECCA making it one of Maine’s most meaningful workplace giving campaigns. Last year, state workers and retirees showed their collaborative commitment to their communities by contributing around $300,000 through one-time gifts or scheduled payroll/retirement deductions. Hundreds of charities are affiliated with the campaign through participating federations, but donors can also direct monetary gifts to an organization of their choice not listed.
“Whether current and former Maine State employees make small or large contributions through MSECCA, they all add up to Mainers helping Mainers,” said Aho, according to a press release. “Thank you to the state employee whose generous spirit extend beyond their dedication to public service and is reflected in the care and compassion they have toward their less fortunate neighbors.”
The Bread of Life Ministries, which provides services to Augusta area’s poorest citizens to help them develop self-sufficiency, has historically been the single largest recipient of MSECCA funding. The organization’s executive director, Dean Lachance, spoke at the event about how MSECCA matters.
”MSECCA has a direct and influential impact on the hungry and homeless in our communities. Your financial contributions support hungry and homeless families, individuals, and veterans going through massive trauma,” he said. “On behalf of those we serve, I want to thank MSECCA donors for helping us make this happen. Each of you can, and does make a difference.”
Margo Batsie, the Member Services Coordinator for the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, also spoke at the event. Ms. Batsie noted ”The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence Resource Centers work to ensure that all people who are affected by domestic abuse are supported and perpetrators are held accountable all across the state of Maine. The support of MSECCA donors means that MCEDV Resource Centers can continue to serve Mainers who experience domestic abuse and work within their local communities to hold perpetrators accountable. And for that we are thankful.”
Beginning today, State employees are able to contribute to the 2013 campaign online at www.maine.gov/msecca. The campaign concludes in mid-December.