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More Than $70,000 Raised During Helping Hands for Warm and Safe Homes Telethon

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 7:07 PM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - The Helping Hands for Warm and Safe Homes Telethon was a huge success! More than 70,000 dollars was raised to help keep people warm and housed over the next year. That’s the largest amount of money we’ve raised in a single telethon to date and it’s all thanks to the wonderful people of Aroostook County. ACAP’s Sherry Locke says “Yesterday was more successful in many, many ways than we could have ever expected. With the pandemic, we just weren’t sure what to expect, you know, we weren’t sure how our message would be received, we weren’t sure if donors would be in a position to give back...” But give back, they did! With the money raised topping 70,000.

Locke says “The total right now is 70,466 dollars and again, funds raised by people here in Aroostook County wanting to know and ensure that those dollars are going to stay local and make a difference in Aroostook County. 100% of those dollars raised will be a direct client benefit. There’s no administrative fee from any organization. And all of those funds, again, make sure that our friends and neighbors are cared for.”

Locke says the funds raised are used as funds of last resort for the next year.

She says “So, we have over 40 programs here at ACAP to help folks with the different challenges that they may be facing. If for some reason an individual does not fit into one of those other buckets per say. You know, if they may be a little over qualifications for our heap program, or if they may be housing insecure and not able to access other funding, that is when these funds would be available.”

Locke says it was truly touching as more than 600 people took time out of their day to donate to keep their friends and neighbors safe. More than 100 of those were new since last year. She adds it was especially touching to see those who have been helped turning around and paying it forward.

“We took three calls that I know of where folks said I have benefited from heap or I’m a heap recipient this year and I’m very thankful for that. And I’d like to make a 20 dollar donation, knowing that there’s people out there who are just a little over the guideline or maybe don’t have the documentation to make sure that their homes are warm too.”

Erin Benson, Program Coordinator for HEAP, says “This is really important, these dollars play a really important role in our tool kit about how we help people and how we help people stay warm and so I can’t say that I’m grateful enough!”

There is still plenty of time to see if you are eligible for heating assistance through HEAP. Benson says they can take appointments through July 15th. She says even though people don’t think about heat in the summer, it can get you set up for the following winter. She adds that the guidelines have changed, allowing many more people to apply for HEAP benefits.

She says, “Last year the income guidelines were raised significantly and so a lot of people who have never been eligible before or who tried and were told and were told that they were over income are now eligible and so we had several conversations yesterday with people who I said, well, what is your monthly income? And I said, you are eligible, let me sign you up for an appointment. And so, we’ve been trying to pound that message out for over a year and I think it’s finally starting to sink in. So, more people will have access to the dollars that can help them through a pretty long winter.”

To get more information on how to sign up for benefits call 207-768-3053 or email energy@acap-me.org.

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