Telethon returns to help keep the County warm

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The weather has now turned cold and already hundreds of families in Aroostook County have struggled to stay warm in their homes. The United Way of Aroostook aims to help with the Helping Hands for Warm and Safe Homes Telethon in two weeks. 

United Way, along with partners WAGM-TV and the Aroostook County Action Program, will host the day-long telethon from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 19 on local television.  Throughout the day, viewers will learn about the needs in Aroostook County and how they can provide assistance to an individual or family.

Last year the community came together to raise over $60,000 during the daylong event.  Those dollars have been administered over the past year to provide warm and safe homes for seniors, working families and many others in need. Although the majority of the funding was used to heat homes, a portion was used to help those without a safe home secure housing. 

This year’s goal is once again $60,000.  

 “The need for heating assistance in Aroostook County has increased significantly in the last few years and we anticipate will increase dramatically this year due to COVID-19,” said Sarah Ennis, Executive Director of United Way of Aroostook.

“Many of those around us are faced with choosing between heating their homes and basic needs like food and medicine.  We need to come together before it gets too cold to help them not have to make that choice,” Ennis said.

Those needing heating assistance can contact ACAP at any time for an appointment. ACAP administers the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) as well as these donation dollars.  The donations are used as the funds of last resort as thousands of Aroostook County households will qualify for the federal program and these limited funds are reserved for those who may not qualify or who may need additional assistance.  

Members of the ACAP team will be available on the day of the telethon to answer questions and to take a limited number of appointments from first time applicants, all other applicants will be scheduled at a later time.  

Due to the pandemic, all appointments will be scheduled and conducted over the telephone, unless other arrangements are required. It is very important for anyone in need to contact the ACAP Office at 207-764-3721 to schedule an appointment as the colder weather sets in. 

“Entering the colder months, we are so blessed to have such an amazing community continuously step up to ensure friends and neighbor are provided for.  As we near the 4th Annual Helping Hands for Warm and Safe Homes Telethon, we are reminded of the generosity of our community and look forward to another great event,” said Sherry Locke, ACap development and communication director. 

 Pledges can be made by calling (207-768-3050) on November 19th from 5:30AM-8 PM.  Donations can also be made in advance by sending a check to United Way of Aroostook, 830 Main St., Presque Isle.  

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