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Telethon nets $31,000 to feed County hungry

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The United Way of Aroostook has announced that its March Operation 24 telethon raised $31,000 to benefit Aroostook County’s 24 food pantries.

The telethon, a partnership with United Way and WAGM-TV, took place March 14. As of mid-April, $21,000 had been collected.  

Funds will be evenly distributed among the 24 food pantries serviced by Catholic Charities Maine’s Hunger & Relief Services. Each of the 24 food pantries will submit a “wish list” of food items they want for their pantry’s needs, and Dixie Shaw, director of Hunger & Relief Services, will use her leveraging abilities to fulfill the wish lists and make the most of every dollar donated.  

One of the 24 pantries benefiting from the telethon is Adopt-A-Block Aroostook in Houlton.

“A huge thank you to all who made a financial donation to this year’s Operation 24 telethon. We are so grateful for the outpouring from our communities,” said Tammy Goetsch, director of Adopt-A-Block of Aroostook. “The funds raised will be split between each of the 24 agencies. It means that we can utilize the funds to purchase food that we normally don’t get at our pantry like dairy, meat, chicken, fruits, veggies and other staples that will help families prepare healthier meals.”

Goetsch added, “We are so excited to be a part of this network and thank both the Good Shepherd Food Bank and Catholic Charities for getting food into The County for those that need it most.”

During the telethon, 35 volunteers from local pantries, the United Way and the community, gave nearly 100 hours to answer phones, take pledges, input data and help where needed.

“It was a busy time answering calls, and I was grateful for the generosity of people,” said Mary Caron of Ashland Area Food Pantry. “I am more thankful for the awareness the telethon brought to area pantries and the various needs of each pantry. Several people who might not have been able to donate money have since offered their time and talent to volunteer at our pantry.  That’s priceless.”

For more information, contact United Way of Aroostook at 764-5197 or email Sherry Locke, executive director, at sherry@unitedwayaroostook.org.

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