REGION – The 2nd Annual Community-wide Change Challenge is underway in greater Franklin County.

During the month of February, several businesses and schools are collecting spare change from employees, customers or students with all proceeds going to support programs of the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area (UWTVA).

Nichole Ernest, Community Resource Coordinator for UWTVA , said Barclay’s in Wilton started the program last year to show that a little bit adds up to a lot.

Ernest said, “Last year it got quite competitive between Verso and Barclay’s. More than $4,000 was raised. Barclay’s matched it.”

She said this year there are two tiers of participation.

Tier One is for groups that have more than 200 employees or have access to large numbers of customers. Participants are Hannaford in Jay, Hannaford in Farmington, University of Maine Farmington, Franklin County Health Network, Barclay’s and Verso Paper.

Tier Two is for smaller groups. Taking part are Spruce Mountain Elementary School, Cascade Brook School, Academy Hill School, The Dugout Bar and Grill, Farmington Post Office, Tranten’s, Tuck’s Ale House, The Roost, Food City in Livermore Falls, St. Pierre’s Garage in Livermore Falls, UWTVA and the Town of Livermore Falls.

Ernest said fourth grade students at Academy Hill School hold an annual fundraising project as part of their partnership with Hannaford. This year they decided to support UWTVA. The students created colorful posters about the Community Change Challenge that can be seen throughout the school.

This is the second year Spruce Mountain Elementary School is collecting change for the challenge. A notice about it was sent home with students on Friday, February 2. 

Fourth grade student Ayden Wetherell was among the first students at the school to respond. He brought change in on Monday and Tuesday. The class that makes the biggest contribution will be treated to a pizza party.

Barclay’s was presented a trophy for raising the most money in the challenge last year. The trophy will be presented to the group raising the most money this year.

“We’ll see how long Barclay’s gets to keep it,” Ernest said.

As of Feb. 9 Verso Paper had raised $380.84, the most in Tier One. Leading the way in Tier Two was The Dugout Bar and Grill with $155.08.

For more information, call 778-5048, visit the website or follow them on Facebook at

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Spruce Mountain Elementary School is participating in United Way of the Tri-Valley Area’s Community Change Challenge. During February, students are asked to bring in their loose change. The class donating the most wins a pizza party. Ayden Wetherell, a student in Mrs. Anctil’s fourth grade class, was one of the first students to take up the challenge. He brought change each of the two days after the challenge was announced. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

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