Versant Power gives $5,000 to support Agency on Aging’s March for Meals
PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Versant Power recently awarded Aroostook Agency on Aging a $5,000 charitable donation to help meet the sharply increasing demand for home-delivered meal services to older persons in northern Maine.
During the month, the Agency’s community-based Meals on Wheels program joins others from across the country for the annual March for Meals campaign to celebrate this successful public-private partnership and garner the resources needed to reach every older adult in need of a nutritious meal, friendly visit, and safety check. During the pandemic, local demand for home-delivered meals has doubled while federal and state funding levels have not increased enough to keep pace.
Versant Power is focused on building a stronger, more sustainable Maine by working with not-for-profit organizations to support the communities their employees reside in and serve. The drive to sustain Aroostook’s existing Meals on Wheels service aligns well with the company’s charitable giving strategy.
“The staff and volunteers at Aroostook Agency on Aging work hard to transport and deliver nutritious meals to seniors in northern Maine at no cost through their Meals on Wheels program,” said Versant President John Flynn. “We are pleased to support the program and know it provides not only food, but peace of mind to recipients and their families.”
Chris Beaulieu, director of Nutrition and Eldercare Services for Aroostook Agency on Aging, noted that his organization and its counterparts across Maine have relied on CARES Act and other temporary financial sources to help feed those who qualify for meals. As emergency funds are depleted, he added, a more sustainable funding model is necessary as many older adults in Maine are at risk for losing this life sustaining program. While Maine’s five agencies on aging are currently seeking additional federal and state funding, Beaulieu said Aroostook’s program looks to more community-level fundraising like March for Meals to ensure home-delivered meals continue to be available for homebound older adults.
There is strong evidence, according to Beaulieu, that older adults living alone who receive meals have experienced significant reductions in feelings of isolation and loneliness, worry less about staying in their homes, feel safer, and experience fewer falls and hospitalizations. “There have been numerous examples throughout the state of situations where home-delivered meals staff and volunteers have saved the lives of those served,” he added.
Aroostook Agency on Aging is one of several community partners in Versant Power’s service territory receiving donations to support basic human needs like food, shelter, and mental health. The organization invites other businesses to donate to the March for Meals or partner in some other way during the year. Individuals who are not able to make a donation, are encouraged to volunteer their time with any of a variety of programs and services focused on helping older people and those with disabilities remain living in their own home.
For more information, please call the Agency on Aging at 207-764-3396/1-800-439-1789, visit the Presque Isle office at 260 Main Street, or go to their website at www.aroostookaging.org. To donate toward the March for Meals, visit the “Give Back” page on the Agency’s website and complete the online form.
Versant Power is committed to delivering safe, reliable electric service. As the state’s second-largest electric utility, the company delivers electricity to more than 159,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers across 10,400 square miles in five counties in eastern and northern Maine.
The mission of the Aroostook Agency on Aging is to improve the quality of life and promote the well-being of older people in our communities. Since 1973, the agency has served as a resource, helping people to access information and services, while also advocating to assure the rights we all value are respected.