February 22, 2011

Dead River, United Way team up for fuel assistance

By Tux Turkel tturkel@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

A Maine-based energy company is teaming up with the Portland area United Way to seek donations for fuel assistance, which will be matched up to $100,000.

Dead River Co. and United Way of Greater Portland this morning launched Share the Warmth, a campaign to raise funds for fuel assistance for families and individuals across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

The fundraising effort, which targets individuals and businesses, will conclude on March 11, and Dead River will match every dollar collected up to $100,000.

The campaign was announced at a news conference this morning in Scarborough. Representatives of U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins attended the event. 

United Way of Greater Portland will collect all donations online through www.deadriver.com/share-the-warmth or via checks and distribute to the agencies that provide fuel assistance in the three states. Individuals in need of fuel assistance information should call 2-1-1 Maine.

The campaign comes during a cold winter of rising oil prices and proposed cuts in fuel assistance money. According to the Maine State Housing Authority, more than 64,000 households are expected to need fuel assistance this year – more than one in 10 households. Calls for fuel assistance have jumped more than 20 percent since this time last year, according to 2-1-1 Maine.

“When you look at these statistics, it becomes clear any one of us could have a friend, a family member, an acquaintance or a neighbor who needs help fueling their home to stay warm and we may not even know it,” said Bob Moore, president and CEO of Dead River Co.

United Way will collect all donations and distribute the funds weekly to the organizations and agencies that can best deliver the assistance to those in need.

“We hear many stories from young mothers, families and senior citizens who are struggling to heat their homes and stay warm,” said Suzanne McCormick, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Portland. “We hope to raise funds as quickly as possible so we can reach those in need sooner rather than later. Every donation counts and any amount will help make a difference.”

Donations can be made in the following ways:

— Online at www.deadriver.com/share-the-warmth

— Through checks mailed to Share the Warmth, c/o United Way of Greater Portland, P.O. Box 15200, Portland, ME 04112.

— Dropped off at any local Dead River Co. office.

All checks should be made payable to the United Way of Greater Portland, with Share the Warmth noted on the check.


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