Telethon aims to keep local folks warm this winter

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The United Way of Aroostook, WAGM-TV and Aroostook County Action Program will unite on Thursday, Nov. 15, to raise funds for emergency heating assistance during the Heating Homes for Helping Hands Telethon.

“After hearing the heartbreaking stories from some of our neighbors who were struggling to heat their homes in the winter months, and seeing the outpouring of donations that came in during last years’ telethon, WAGM is excited to broadcast the second annual Heating Homes with Helping Hands telethon on November 15,” said Kelly Landeen, vice president and general manager of WAGM-TV.  

Approximately 205 Aroostook County households, who could not otherwise access immediate help, received emergency fuel assistance last winter from money donated during the 2017 Telethon. More than 400 donors last year raised just over $43,000.

“Now that the leaves have fallen and winter temperatures have taken hold of Aroostook County, we know it signals a much colder time ahead. And with the price of heating a home up over last year, and another challenging winter expected, the need is even greater,” said Sherry Locke, executive director of the United Way of Aroostook.

Donations will go directly to benefit local people when no other resources are available at the time of a cold-weather emergency.

All households receiving emergency assistance will receive follow-up from ACAP’s coaching staff, which opens a door to receiving help with financial literacy, budgeting, weatherization, energy conservation education, and even energy-related financial incentives through various programs ACAP administers.

“We do everything in our power to keep those experiencing a fuel emergency from ever having to go through that again,” said ACAP Executive Director/CEO Jason Parent.

The Telethon will begin during the 5:30 a.m. news broadcast and continue throughout the day during news programming and with brief cut-ins during regular programming commercial breaks. Volunteers will be on hand to receive incoming calls until 8 p.m.

The telethon has two purposes: to help those with no other resources with fuel assistance at the time they experience an emergency, and to provide education on available resources, including an opportunity to connect people immediately with an ACAP representative who can help determine their pre-eligibility and schedule them for a next available appointment with a HEAP intake specialist in their local region.

During the telethon, two numbers will display on the screen, one for donations, and the other will be a direct line to ACAP HEAP staff and volunteers.

For more information, call (207) 764-5197. If you are in need of heating assistance, call (207) 768-3053.

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