Heat Dance raises $12,000 for fuel assistance

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FARMINGTON – The benefit Heat Dance 6 held earlier this month raised nearly $12,000 for a program that provides fuel assistance to local residents in need.

The Franklin County Ecumenical Heating Fund (also known as ECU HEAT) provides fuel assistance for homes in Franklin County throughout the heating season, typically November through March. The program is called “50 for $50,” because applicants receive 50 gallons of fuel for a share of only $50 in the form of a money order payable to the fuel vendor. The balance due on hundreds of fuel deliveries each winter is paid by ECU HEAT.

Funding for the program over the years has been raised through special events, such as the Coig holiday concert in December, and the Heat Dance held in early February each year. Other support comes from churches, businesses, service organizations, United Way, and individual donors. On the night of the dance held Feb. 3, 218 homes had already been served. The program provides whatever primary fuel is used in the home of the applicant: oil, kerosene, propane, pellets or firewood.

The Heat Dance 6 event raised $6,900 and with the Sandy River Charitable Foundation’s offer of a $5,000 matching grant for dance proceeds of $5,000 or more brought the total to $11,900.

Organizer Rev. Susan Crane thanked Shepherd’s Pie Band for donating the dance music and the Sandy River Charitable Foundation.

“With the addition of the Matching Grant, ECU HEAT will now have $11,900 to help with more fuel deliveries in March, and again next November and December,” she said.

In the six years the dance has been held, close to $82,000 has been raised to help individual and families heat their homes.

Crane also wanted to give special recognition to those who served as sponsors for Heat Dance 6 by raising $5,050 beforehand: Rockwell Bjorn, Farmington Lions Foundation, Farmington Rotary Club, Kyes Insurance, Otis Federal Credit Union, Franklin Chrysler, Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry, “Old South” First Congregational Church UCC of Farmington, Trinity United Methodist Women, Franklin Savings Bank, and Diana Richman all gave sizeable gifts to Sponsor Heat Dance 6.

ECU HEAT received $430 in other donations for the dance. Ticket sales, both before and at the door raised $1,800.

“We thank Calico Patch, Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers, and The Homestead Bakery for selling advance tickets to the dance. In-kind donations made it possible to provide limousine service from the Homestead to the event venue at the University of Maine at Farmington for dance-goers with “gold tickets.” We thank Dr. Eric Gunther for adding each year to some very glitzy decorations that helped create an Academy Award atmosphere for Heat Dance 6,” Crane said.

A new feature at Heat Dance 6 was a raffle for fuel. Two vendors each offered a half cord of firewood for the raffle. Two winning tickets were drawn at the dance. The winner of a half cord of firewood from Dana Morse Firewood was Donald Burnell of Farmington. Bill Crandall, also of Farmington, was the winner of a half cord of firewood from JR’s Firewood. Crandall donated his prize back to ECU HEAT, so that JR’s Firewood could deliver the prize to any customer who could use the extra this winter.

Applications for fuel assistance are available at WMCA in E. Wilton and will continue through the end of March. ECU HEAT is a ministry of the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry and a Community Partner of the United Way of the Tri-Valley. Donations are accepted at ECU HEAT year round and may be mailed to P.O. Box 147, Farmington, ME 04938. All donations are tax deductible and are gratefully acknowledged.

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