Keeping warm — that’s the challenge of Maine winters. For some of our neighbors, the choices are acute: eat or heat. Fill a prescription or fill the oil tank. Even lowering the thermostat to near 60 and putting on extra layers isn’t enough for some to get by. Project GRACE makes it a little easier for our neighbors having trouble making ends meet. The Scarborough-based nonprofit and the Town of Scarborough will host their 10th annual “Rally to Keep Our Neighbors Warm” fundraiser to help our neighbors heat their homes.

The Fuel Rally will be held at the Public Safety Building (by Town Hall) on Saturday, Feb. 19  from 10 a.m. to noon. Local philanthropist Eddie Woodin is the inspiration behind the Rally. He challenged Project GRACE to raise $25,000 from the community to win a matching gift from him. It’s a big goal, but with support from the community, it’s attainable!

Donations of all sizes add up quickly to have a real impact locally. Since 2012, the Rally has raised $127,000, enough to cover about 60 percent of Project GRACE’s fuel assistance needs. Project GRACE typically responds to about 70 calls for fuel assistance, but volunteers answer more calls as temperatures fall or prices spike. This winter’s heating costs are running about 56 percent higher than last year’s and are still rising. At today’s prices, donations of $2,500 translate to seven or eight ‘helps’ of 100 gallons of oil, k1, propane, or firewood. With $10,000, Project GRACE could send out about 3,000 gallons of fuel to keep furnaces going. When there is extra in the fuel fund, a few Scarborough residents can also get help with small home repairs to stop costly drafts, a furnace cleaning, or tune-up to improve efficiency and lower energy consumption.

Early leadership pledges from Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial, KCV Trailer Registration (a division of AB Ledue Enterprises), BlueWave Solar and Town & Country Federal Credit Union, plus gifts from West Scarborough United Methodist Church, cPort Credit Union, Infinity Credit Union, and dozens of family donors are giving Project GRACE a good head start towards Eddie’s challenge for the Fuel Fund.

Talking about why they give, Scott and Kelli McDonald say, “It’s our goal to provide financial security to the communities we live in. Giving back is the culture that Modern Woodmen is founded on. Helping others is the best part of our job!”

Art Ledue of AB Ledue Enterprises agrees, “Community is so important, and we need to be there for each other.”

The Rally event is made possible because of the teamwork and enthusiastic support from the Town of Scarborough, Scarborough Police and Fire, Community Services and Public Works, SEDCO and the Chamber of Commerce, and many others. This year’s event is curbside and includes a Friends of the Scarborough Library “grab bag” book sale, energy efficiency tips from the Scarborough Sustainability Committee, and a bottle and can drive sponsored by the Scarborough Lions Club. Scarborough Volunteers in Police Service and Scarborough Public Safety will be handling the pre-ordered chili and chowder pickup, prepared by the talented chefs at Bread & Butter Catering Company. Project GRACE is also premiering specially curated programming on Scarborough’s local cable access channel during the event. Viewers can tune in to see some gorgeous local views filmed by local photographer, Dave Therrien, a jazzy performance by the MainePOPs, birding and nature programming, and more!

We’re anticipating a great turnout on Saturday, Feb. 19,  but if you can’t make it, donations can be made to the fuel fund online at (find the red “Give” button) or by mailing a check to Project GRACE, PO Box 6846, Scarborough, ME 04070-6846.

For all those who have already given, Project GRACE extends its warmest and most heartfelt thanks. Whether you can share a little or a lot, each gift helps us keep our promise that we won’t leave our Scarborough neighbors in the cold.

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