Keep ME Warm: This fund provides emergency heating assistance through a statewide partnership of Maine's United Ways and Community Action Agencies with the goal of helping Maine people stay safe, warm and secure during the winter months. Each year, a portion of the public and private donations raised are distributed to Maine's ten United Ways.
Here in York County, we share these resources with local community fuel funds and organizations that provide emergency fuel assistance. Keep ME Warm is the only statewide fuel assistance fundraising effort in the state of Maine. During the winter of 2015-16, United Way of York County distributed $9,647 across the county.
The need for heating assistance in Maine has increased significantly over the last few years, driven by the cost of heating oil, decreased federal funding and changes to federal guidelines that have made many Mainers ineligible for heating assistance benefits like LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program). Residents are faced with choosing between heating their home and basic needs like adequate food and required medicines.
If you would like to make a donation to support those in need here in York County this winter, you may do so on our website or send a check payable to United Way of York County (with a "Fuel Assistance" note in the memo line) and mail to: United Way of York County, PO Box 727, Kennebunk, ME 04043.
2-1-1 Maine: Do you or someone you know need help? Dial 2-1-1 or visit www.211maine.org for information on heating assistance and weatherization services near you. 2-1-1 Maine is a statewide health and human services information and referral service created by the United Ways of Maine, in partnership with The Opportunity Alliance and the State of Maine.
Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP): This program was established by the U.S. Congress in 1983 with the signing of the Jobs Stimulus Bill (Public Law 98-8). That legislation created a National Board, chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that consisted of representatives of the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities USA, The Jewish Federations of North America, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, The Salvation Army and United Way Worldwide.
Since 1983, the EFSP has distributed $4.198 billion to over 14,000 human service agencies in more than 2,500 communities across the country through this collaborative effort between the private and public sectors.
In the years when York County receives a portion of the federally designated funds, a Local Board reviews applications from organizations that provide basic need services for the homeless, the elderly, families with children and veterans. Successful applicants receive funds to cover costs associated with housing, food distribution, meal preparation and specific equipment needs.
During the 2015-16 cycle, United Way of York County distributed over $81,000 of EFSP resources to nine local organizations. Recipients of funds are required to document the use of the EFSP funds they receive and to provide a final report at the end of the funding period.