Heat Dance III raises over $21,000 for heat assistance

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FARMINGTON — The glamorous Hollywood-style Heat Dance III has raised more than $21,000 to help needy families heat their homes.

A total of $21,269 was given to the ECU HEAT fund, Susan Crane, coordinator said.

“We surpassed the tally for last year’s dance by 33 percent,” she said in a news release. “What happened this year is an incredible achievement, and it will not only help those in need for the rest of this winter but will also get us started next winter as well.”

The amount includes the $5,000 matching grant from Sandy River Charitable, she said. Several local businesses, organizations and churches also made donations to meet the match. Those giving more than $500 were awarded an Oscar during the dance.

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The generosity and support of so many was exemplified by the winner of the 50/50 raffle at the dance. Ken Richards of East Wilton donated the $104 he won in the raffle to the ECU HEAT fund, she said.

A program of  the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry, ECU HEAT SHARE supplies an emergency 50 gallons of fuel oil or the equivalent in another fuel to help local homeowners.

From November through January, 266 homes in Franklin County have received fuel assistance, Crane, pastor of Henderson Memorial Baptist Church, said. The program is administered by Western Maine Community Action.

“With the Heat Dance III proceeds, the fund should be able to handle the rest of the winter without having to turn anyone away for lack of money,” she said.

About 225 people came to dance to the music of local band Shepherd’s Pie in the North Dining Hall at the University of Maine at Farmington on Friday night, band member Tim Wallace said. He and band member Jodie Gunther planned the event.

Many came dressed in Hollywood attire. Some arrived by stretch limousine after a predance meal at the Homestead Kitchen Bar and Bakery on Broadway.

Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, was master of ceremonies and read a letter from Gov. Paul LePage welcoming attendees. The governor also acknowledged the efforts of Crane, ECU HEAT, Gunther, Wallace and everyone who made the fundraiser a success.

During a second intermission, Kate Foster, Bill Crandall and Becky Arsenault competed in heat-related questions in a Jeopardy-style game.

Donations may be made by check payable to ECU HEAT and mailed to P.O. Box 147, Farmington, ME 04938, Crane said.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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