PRESQUE ISLE – For the second year in a row, United Way of Aroostook officials took to the road to kick off their annual fundraising campaign.
Officials recently made four “whistle-stops” in Aroostook County – in an RV – as part of their efforts to raise $460,000 this year, which will be reinvested in community agencies and programs, Claudia Stevens, United Way of Aroostook executive director, said Tuesday.
The local United Way set a goal last year of $450,000, which it exceeded by about $10,000, so Stevens said officials are confident about reaching this year’s figure. She said the organization has exceeded its goal every year since at least 1999, when she started working there.
For this year’s kickoff, United Way officials traveled to Presque Isle, Caribou, Fort Kent and Houlton in an RV provided by local businessman Warren Cushman. Stevens said that the events included entertainment by recent contestants from Aroostook Idol – another United Way fundraising event – and a special visit in Fort Kent by Aroostook Idol winner Samantha Boutot.
Stevens said the event provided a fun and quick way for officials to deliver materials to representatives from area businesses for the United Way’s workplace campaign.
In the past, she said, the organization had done kickoff breakfasts.
“We found this to be more efficient and fun,” Stevens said. “It took less time for the people that had to come and attend, and it was a whole lot more fun. … Anytime you can get the job done and have a good time doing it, that’s a good thing.”
To entice people to participate in this year’s workplace campaign, officials are offering 10 round-trip tickets from Presque Isle to Boston. The names of those who contribute at least $2 a week or $104 for the year will be put into a drawing for the tickets, which will be raffled off in pairs. The tickets were donated by Colgan Air.
Officials hope to end the workplace campaign in early December. The overall campaign drive, which began in July, ends in June 2007. Stevens said the United Way has reached about 20 percent of its goal so far. She added that because of anticipated needs – including an expected fuel crisis and assistance with child care and services for the elderly- the local organization could use every donation possible.
“Since 1957, the United Way has been raising money to help agencies,” Stevens said. “That need just continues to grow every year and certainly this year is no exception.”
She said every donation goes toward helping thousands of people in Aroostook County.
The United Way of Aroostook supports about 30 social service agencies in Aroostook County and last year helped more than 30,000 people in the region.
For information, contact the United Way of Aroostook at 764-5197, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.