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United Way of Aroostook kicks off 2020 campaign with coat drive

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The United Way of Aroostook will kick off its 2020 campaign on Friday, Sept. 18, by campaigning for coats.  

“A coat seems so basic to many, but hundreds of individuals in our communities will need a warm, winter coat for the cold months ahead,” said Sarah Ennis, United Way executive director.

United Way representatives will be outside of ACAP from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 18 to collect items.  Individuals can drive up and stay in their vehicle while a volunteer takes the donations from them. Those who donate will receive a free book certificate to be used at United Way of Aroostook’s Book Nook in the Aroostook Centre Mall for every coat they donate. 

The drive isn’t limited to that day, however. People can drop off their gently used and stain-free coats, ski pants, hats, and mittens at the UWA’s office in the Aroostook Centre Mall or at the outside clothing rack at Aroostook County Action Program, 771 Main St., in Presque Isle.  

Individuals can visit either location and, with no questions asked, take a coat or any winter items from the racks outside the two locations in the coming weeks as the weather grows colder.  

“The United Way of Aroostook is the single County-wide campaign that can raise the dollars needed to address our region’s most daunting challenges — taking care of immediate needs and preventing problems from happening in the first place,” Ennis said. 

The unprecedented health and economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of hundreds of Aroostook County residents, many of whom were already struggling.  

“When COVID-19 started to impact our community the United Way of Aroostook raised over $100,000 to help support the agencies that had to create programs or purchase items that they did not anticipate,” Ennis said. 

“No one will be able to predict the long-term impacts of this pandemic, but one thing we know for certain — the need will be greater than ever and United Way of Aroostook is committed to empowering people to unite and solve the complex problems that will affect us all,” she said.

United Way of Aroostook’s Board of Directors has set the 2020 Campaign Goal at $650,000.  Monies raised will be allocated to County health and human service agencies which serve children, families and seniors with health, education and basic needs to help them become financially independent.  Donations will also be used to help fund United Way’s own programs that help fill gaps in services. 

“The needs of many in our community are great, and only through focus can we impact these needs, and the lives of those who are hurting for our help.  This year will require all of us to dig a little deeper to understand the collective impact we can make within our community,” Ennis said, adding that United Way wants to drive essential change in Aroostook County through collaboration between nonprofits, businesses, and individuals. 

While the United Way is leading the mission, Ennis said they cannot accomplish it alone. 

 “Now more than ever, your support for our County and those we call family, friends, and neighbors, is most critical,” she said. “Help rebuild the spirit that is Aroostook County, and support the impact we can all make together.  Let us be the reason everyone has the opportunity to live their best lives.” 

To join or start a workplace campaign, contact sarah@unitedwayaroostook.org.  Individuals can donate at www.unitedwayaroostook.org, by texting UNITEDWA to 44321 or by sending cash or checks to United Way of Aroostook, 830 Main St., Presque Isle ME 04769.

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