From left, Maurice Barnett, Larry Annadale, Jack Anderson,  and Pastor David Porter, help set up the Henderson Memorial Baptist Church booth at Farmington Fair. Submitted photo

FARMINGTON — In response to the needs of their community neighbors, members of Henderson Memorial Baptist Church will staff a booth at Farmington Fair next week to raise awareness and funds for a local heating assistance program.

Funds raised will be donated to the Franklin County Ecumenical Heating Fund, known as ECU HEAT, which helps local families throughout Franklin County secure heating fuel for their homes. In recent years, over 200 families have been helped each season with one fuel delivery of 50 gallons of oil, propane or kerosene or a cord of wood or a ton of pellets per heating season. In the “$50 for Heat” program, participants pay $50 towards the delivery. “ECU HEAT provides the balance due for that delivery using funds raised by Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry (FAEM) for that purpose,” according to the FAEM website. Individuals, businesses, and local organizations also contribute to the program each year.

“The program is driven and supported by these eight ecumenical churches which all contribute funding throughout the year,” said Henderson Memorial Pastor David Porter.

The churches pool their resources to help more people. The program is administered by Western Maine Community Action and especially helps families cover a fuel delivery until the low-income federal home energy assistance program (LIHEAP) funds are available. Applications for the program are available at WMCA or local town offices.

“With the rising cost of fuel and other household expenses, we anticipate a much higher need from the community this year,” he said. “Churches can be a beacon of light in times of darkness like times of hunger, homelessness or this time of rising costs of fuel and other necessities. Churches can be impactful in a local community as they are called to serve others. Serving others means more than simply conducting a Sunday worship service. Serving others means leaving the traditional boundaries of the church and meeting people where they are at in their lives.”

Considering the church’s annual July 4 hot dog giveaway where donations are accepted for ECU HEAT, the booth at the fair will feature hot dogs. The menu is a simple one for this first-year venture and includes chili dogs, nacho dogs and hot dogs along with hot fudge and caramel salt sundaes and a variety of homemade cookies and whoopie pies. The booth is located on the back side of the pulling ring and will be open during fair hours.

Customers may also sign up for a variety of area merchant giveaways. The merchants have quickly responded to the request to help the fuel program. One homemade pie, made by bakers at the church, will be awarded to a customer each day of the fair.

Anyone wishing to also help their neighbors stay warm this winter may donate to ECU HEAT at either the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church booth, located near the racetrack, or at Henderson’s booth during the fair.

For more information or to volunteer, contact the church at 778-2163.

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