Volunteers package meals at SeniorsPlus in Lewiston. The Meals On Wheels program received $29,500 in funding from the United Way of Androscoggin County COVID-19 Response Fund to help meet the increased need for meals for homebound clients.

LEWISTON —  United Way of Androscoggin County announces that it has awarded $49,500 in grants to 19 local agencies in Androscoggin and Oxford counties as part of the first round of funding from the COVID-19 Response Fund.

United Way of Androscoggin County Executive Director Joleen Bedard said that in addition to this first round of funding, United Way continues to look at developing needs in the community. “We want to ensure that we quickly disperse the funding to agencies so we can help people most impacted by COVID-19.”

The COVID-19 Response Fund was established in mid-March to meet the short-term, immediate needs of individuals and families impacted by COVID-19, as well as the anticipated long-term impacts. The first round of funding was made possible due to donations from Maine businesses and individual donors.

Grant recipients from the first round of funding include: Andover Food Pantry, Bethel Food Pantry, Bread of Life Food Pantry, Catholic Charities SEARCH, Community Concepts, Grampa’s Food Pantry, Greene Baptist Church, New Beginnings, Pine Tree Legal, Rumford Group Home, Rural Community Action Ministry, SeniorsPlus, Servant’s Heart Food Pantry, St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, Sumner Food Bank, Sweden Food Pantry, The Progress Center, Trinity Jubilee Center and YWCA of Central Maine.

“The United Way Response Fund has allowed us to serve people who are not eligible under the regular Meals On Wheels program. This is an extraordinary time that requires more flexibility to serve more people,” said Betsy Sawyer-Manter, president and CEO of SeniorsPlus. “Our daily client numbers are increasing by 5 to 10 per day and our kitchen is producing 1,800 meals per day to keep ahead of demand. These funds are invaluable.”

The COVID-19 Response Fund is being replenished with additional funding from the recent Maine United telethon, held in partnership between News Center Maine and United Ways of Maine, as well as a number of donations. Applications for the second round of funding will be accepted until Friday, April 24. Agencies wishing to apply for funding can find the application at https://www.unitedwayandro.org/covid-19-response-fund-agency-application.

For more information about the fund or to donate, visit https://www.unitedwayandro.org/covid-19-response-information.

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