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United Way celebrates supporters, volunteers

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — United Way of Aroostook hosted its annual meeting on June 6 with a breakfast held at the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Campus Center.

More than 140 guests attended to celebrate the success of the year.  The meeting served as an opportunity to highlight donors, businesses and organizations which support the agency’s work. United Way officials also announced the 17 agencies it will help to fund along with two special programs it will support with grants.  

Board President Wanda Guiggey said, “We need the support of our donors, partners, sponsors and volunteers to ensure that we are moving our community forward and making Aroostook County an even better place to live and work.”

She shared the recent successes of several United Way initiatives, including the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Summer Slide Program, Book Nook, Aroostook CA$H Coalition, two telethons (Heating Homes with Helping Hands and Operation 24) and Stuff the Bus Aroostook, highlighting that all of these programs are moving the needle in the right direction by promoting self-sufficiency.    

The meeting also highlighted volunteerism and the impact it has on the community.  In the last 12 months, United Way has logged over 3,000 hours of volunteer time. The employees of Katahdin Trust were named the 2018 Volunteers of the Year for their efforts in a list of over a dozen events. The group of hardworking volunteers plan to serve in three communities for the Aroostook County Day of Service, scheduled Tuesday, June 18.

“UWA could not do the work it does without the financial support of its many donors, especially its workplace campaign donors,” said United Way Executive Director Sherry Locke. She listed the top 10 workplace campaigns, in order from 10 to 1: Maine State Employee Campaign, Central Aroostook Association, Smith and Wesson, Twin Rivers Paper Company, United Parcel Service, The County Federal Credit Union, Northern Light AR Gould Hospital, Emera Maine, Katahdin Trust Company and MMG Insurance Company.

Campaign cabinet member Denise Plourde and campaign co-chairperson, Janet Doak, presented a special award to the employees at SAD 1 for their growing workplace campaign.  Their organization has continued to increase employee giving by and partnering with UWA on many shared projects.

Nonprofit agencies applied for funding back in March and the Fund Distribution Task Force, made up of community volunteers, determined which agencies would receive funding and at what level.  At this meeting, Tony Lahey, community funding chair, presented the new agencies with their funding packages.

Funds went to these agencies and programs which strengthen children and families: ACAP’s Child and Family Services, ACAP’s Woman, Infant, and Children’s program, Adopt-A-Block of Aroostook, Aroostook Council for Healthy Families-Maine Families Aroostook, Aroostook Council for Healthy Families-Raising Stronger Families, Boys and Girls Club of Presque Isle, Central Aroostook Association, Hope & Justice Project and St. John Valley Associates.

Funds went to these agencies and programs which support seniors: Aroostook Area on Aging-Nutrition Services and Aroostook Area on Aging-Aroostook RSVP.  

Funds also went to these agencies and programs which help to meet basic needs and support self-sufficiency: ACAP-Family Coaching, American Red Cross, Catholic Charities Hunger Relief Services, Grace Interfaith Food Table, Homeless Services of Aroostook, and Salvation Army.

Two local programs also received special partnership grants: Ashland Area Care Givers and Fish River Rural Health for a new food pantry located in Eagle Lake.   

Locke wrapped up the meeting by thanking the community for its support as United Way evolves to create the greatest impact.  She also thanked the donors, businesses, and organizations for helping to increase the reach of United Way of Aroostook.

Bonnie Foster of Katahdin Trust selected a name from the attendees to win a basket of school supplies to be delivered to the winner’s school of choice.  Kathie Beaulieau of Limestone won the basket, and she donated the supplies to the Limestone District School.

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