United Way reaches goal, funds local programs

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FARMINGTON — The United Way of the Tri-Valley Area has exceeded its annual fundraising goal of $360,500, Executive Director Lisa Laflin said Thursday.

The total, to date, of $361,673 was reached through “generous” individual and workplace giving, corporate and foundation support, special events and grant writing, Laflin said.

“Given the continuing economic challenges our region faces, this is a significant milestone and a testament to the work the United Way does to improve our community,” she said.

This year’s campaign was chaired by state Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton. Many other volunteers helped raise awareness and funds throughout the year, including board members Sharon Cullenberg, Stacy DeMerchant, Jennifer Eriksen, Gordie Flint, Mary Frank, Sandy Goodwin, Julie Libby, Dennis O’Neil, Dianna Poulin, Larry Roix, Jodi Spiller, Brian Strothmann, Janis Walker, Darryl Wood and Bob Yorks.

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Each year, the United Way leads a community investment process called Allocations. Money raised in the campaign that is designated to the Community Fund is divided up by the Allocations Team to support programs in the region.

This year, volunteers reviewed the applications for 18 programs and awarded:

* $8,000 to Community Dental: To offer prenatal dental care and access to dental care for uninsured, low-income adults; and to support a sliding fee scale to prevent dental disease.

* $16,260 to the Franklin County Children’s Task Force to implement community education programs in Greater Franklin County to prevent and address child abuse and neglect.

* $7,000 to the Healthy Community Coalition for its mobile outreach program, which provides services to the area’s most vulnerable in Rangeley, Farmington, Wilton and Kingfield.

* $3,000 to the Rural Community Action Ministry to develop and administer projects and services in collaboration with churches and others; to affect the lives of people living in rural, isolated areas of Maine, including housing services, shelter, food and hunger prevention programs. The focus of the proposal is the town of Livermore.

* $7,000 to SeniorsPlus to support home-delivered meals and congregate dining to older adults and adults with disabilities throughout the tri-valley area through the Meals-On-Wheels program. Meals also are offered at the Warming Centers operated in Farmington during the winter months.

* $9,000 to Sexual Assault Victims Emergency Services to support a regionwide, school-based sexual assault prevention program to reduce the vulnerability of young people to sexual coercion and violence, and to directly help student victims.

* $5,500 to Tri-County Mental Health Services Recovery Program to ensure access to mental health services for individuals who would otherwise be unable to attain them.

* $6,500 to Tri-County Mental Health Services Veterans Program to conduct a community conference and provide training to mental health professionals and law enforcement to support veterans with mental health needs.

* $4,000 to the American Red Cross to respond to and provide immediate basic needs, including shelter, clothing and food for those affected by disasters.

* $4,500 to Literacy Volunteers to promote and foster literacy to adult new readers, non-native speakers and youths.

* $9,000 to Safe Voices to support the county outreach and community education programs, to reduce domestic violence and to support those who are victims. Support includes safety planning, transportation, court advocacy and sheltering.

* $10,500 to the United Methodist Economic Ministry to help the elderly, disabled, low-income, unemployed and underemployed individuals and families in northern Franklin County meet their basic needs, including food, housing repair and emergency fuel.

* $7,000 to the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry to ensure access to emergency fuel assistance after all resources have been exhausted for any Franklin County resident unable to afford fuel.

* $7,500 to Western Maine Community Action Elder Services to provide housing-related resources to older adults in greater Franklin County to increase their independence.

* $4,000 to Western Maine Transportation Services to support the Community Rides program, to provide access to health care and other opportunities, and to provide mobility for disabled, elderly or low-income residents who do not qualify for existing programs.

* $15,000 to Work First to support adults with disabilities in the form of work-related activities.

Laflin stressed that the money that was raised to support area programs and services meets a fraction of the need in Greater Franklin County and support is still critical and accepted year-round.

The United Way was able to meet less than half of the requests this year for funding, and it continues to seek funding to address emerging needs not addressed through the allocations process, she said.

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