FARMINGTON — A holiday concert helped raise more than $14,000 to help people with the cost of heating their homes in Franklin County through the ECU HEAT “50 for $50” program.

The Franklin County Ecumenical Heating Fund concert on Dec. 14 was organized by the Old South Congregational Church in coordination with New England Celtic Arts, featuring Andrew Harris reciting “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” and Matt and Shannon Heaton, who performed Christmas music on guitar and flute while Shannon sang. 

ECU HEAT sponsors, Barbara A. Black, Rockwell and Stephanie Bjorn, the Farmington Rotary Club, Louise McCleery and Kate Foster provided $3,500 toward the goal of raising $5,000 at the concert.

Donations at the concert, along with a portion of ticket sales, garnered $4,000. Donations received through the mail between Dec. 1 and Dec. 15 raised $1,575, bringing the total to $9,075.  

This amount more than qualified ECU HEAT for a $5,000 matching grant promised by Sandy River Charitable Foundation.

The ECU HEAT ministry expressed gratitude to all who give so generously to help keep our neighbors warm.

The “50 for $50” program delivers 50 gallons of oil, kerosene, propane, firewood or pellets, depending on the source of heat, to any low income applicant. 

The applicant attaches a $50 money order, payable to their regular fuel vendor, with their application. Applications for assistance are available at Western Maine Community Action in East Wilton and at town halls and churches throughout Franklin County.

While applicants pay a $50 share for the delivery, the remainder of the cost is paid by ECU HEAT, a ministry of the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry. 

For example, a 50-gallon delivery of kerosene at $3.05 per gallon costs $152.50. After the applicant’s $50 share is applied, WMCA pays the balance, $102.50 and then bills ECU HEAT for reimbursement. ECU HEAT receives bills for between 50-100 deliveries every month.

ECU HEAT is only able to make one delivery per household per heating season (November-March), as long as funds are available. Residents of Jay may call WMCA to request assistance from the Good Neighbor Fund serving the Tri-Town area.

In dire emergencies, churches or General Assistance funds from towns may cover the cost of the applicant’s share.

Donations are tax-deductible and are promptly acknowledged. Checks payable to ECU HEAT may be mailed year-round to ECU HEAT, P.O. Box 147, Farmington, ME 04938.

Matt and Shannon Heaton recently performed Christmas music on guitar and flute while Shannon sang for an ECU HEAT fundraising concert held at Old South Congregational Church in Farmington. (Facebook Photo)

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