April 08, 2020
BANGOR DAILY NEWS (BANGOR, MAINE

Song by song, radio listeners dig in to help

Elsewhere in today’s paper you will find a special section, “Days of Ice,” a retrospective of one of the worst winter storms our state has seen. While you are reflecting on the tough days we all lived through, we remind you that as recovery progresses, daily life is still difficult for many of those affected.

Part of that recovery is the outpouring of help for those hardest hit by the storm and, once again, we report with pride that neighbors are helping each other, and strangers are pitching in with equal generosity to get us through this difficult patch.

Those neighbors, as we told you Wednesday, include our two famous local authors, Stephen and Tabitha King, owners of radio stations WKIT, “The Rock of Bangor,” and WZON, “The Sports Zone.”

WKIT program director Bobby Russell said, “When Chris Spruce called to say Steve and Tabby wanted to make a donation” to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, the original idea was to just ask for donations, but management suggested an eight-day “Pay for Play” in which listeners, for one song, made a pledge to the ARC Relief Fund.

Pay for Play started Jan. 14. The Kings had pledged to match any funds raised, up to $40,000.

WKIT promotions manager Al Jackson, whom you might recognize as “The Reverend,” reports the pledges ranged from at least $10 per person to $25 per company, with some wonderful exceptions.

Dead River Co. manager of human rescources Janet Timmins and Brewer district office manager Scott Gray arrived with a check for $10,000 and a request for Glenn Frey’s “The Heat is On.”

An annonymous donation of another $10,000 was received and, daily, everyone involved continued to be suprised with the outpouring of help. “We had listeners generously donating $50 to $250 to $500 for one song,” Jackson said of people who live in places such as Bar Harbor, Rockport, Orrington, Brewer, Bangor, Hartland, Orono, Holden, Lincoln, North Haven and Seal Harbor.

“Our listeners were super donors. It was fun. We threw the format right out the window. You heard Johnny Cash on WKIT a few days ago, and that’s something you’ll never hear again.”

Russell said some listeners “went crazy with it. Some of them were really making us play Glenn Campbell and Roger Miller. We tried to play anthing they asked for, if we could find it. I even brought in my own CD collection. It was a lot of fun.”

Through Friday, with money still coming in, approximately $33,000 had been raised for the ARC and, Jackson told us, the Kings had decided “to give the whole $40,000” whether or not it was matched by pledges.

For its part, WZON had listeners pledge so much for each Super Bowl pick.

And, speaking of Sunday’s major football event, the stations offer you a chance to really get over that case of cabin fever by attending the first offering of what they hope will be an annual event, a Super Bowl party. Doors open at 4 p.m. Sunday at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer. A live band awaits you, and all you need to do is to make a $10 pledge to the ARC for two tickets to the party. Sounds like a bargain and it’s all for a good cause, as all proceeds benefit the ARC Disaster Relief Fund.

John Rae of Manna Inc., and his father, director Bill Rae, ask for your help. Their food supply, and that of food pantries and cupboards they serve, are getting quite bare.

During the ice storm, John Rae said, “we went ahead and gave out probably three to four times what we normally would have in the last couple of weeks.” As a result, they’ve had to dip into their reserves that would have been used for February and March, just to keep up with the emergency needs that continue today.

In the message Bill Rae left us, he said he is very concerned the storm expected to hit today will have an even more devastating affect on people who receive aid “and won’t get their checks until the end of the month.”

Manna is using some governmental food supplies but is basically “relying completely on private donations, and folks bringing in canned goods to help out,” John Rae said.

Manna’s problem is twofold: meeting the needs of people who don’t have access to immediate government aid and resupplying for the coming months.

Originally, staff thought they could get through the first couple of weeks, but it looks like it’s going to be more of an ongoing process to keep people fed. One of the things experts advise when you’re in cold situations is to eat more food but, for some, if Manna doesn’t have it, they can’t.

All contributions of nonperishible products, canned goods and ready-to-eat foods would be appreciated as well as cash donations. Either may be delivered to Manna at 180 Center St., Bangor 04401. Or call 990-2870 for information.

We extend our deeepest sympathy to the family and friends of 11-year-old Alicia Dudsinski who died of cancer Wednesday at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee, Wis.

The daughter of Karen and Terry Wade of Monticello and granddaughter of Harold and Alice Lindsay of North Amity was a student at Southside School in Houlton.

She will be remembered by countless friends who loved her all her life, and countless strangers who offered Alicia and her family support for the trip to Milwaukee for a bone marrow transplant.

The correct telephone number for the Bangor YMCA is 941-2815 for those wishing information on YM programs, or its Fundraising Auction at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Elks Club in Bangor.

The Standpipe, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; 990-8288.


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