I am writing this letter in public support of Western Maine Community Action Program in light of proposed federal budget cuts to funding for Community Action agencies nationwide. I don’t think enough people appreciate what an essential role Community Action agencies play in their respective communities.

For example, this past heating season the Franklin County Ecumenical Heating Fund provided heating assistance for 331 households, or 775 individuals, at a cost of nearly $46,300.

Funding for this project came from foundations, businesses, churches, civic organizations and many individuals — just the sort of collaborative effort most people want to see.

This effort, however, would not have been possible without the logistical support and community contacts of Western Maine Community Action Program. Agency employees served as a central clearing house for all the requests for fuel assistance and applied the funds equitably. This is a very large effort, and without the help provided by the agency, the churches could not provide EcuHeat fuel assistance.

This is just one local example.

Community Action agencies are about public-private partnerships and collaboration. It has lots of expertise and experience that can be brought to bear on many necessary endeavors.

If we were to lose Western Maine Community Action Program because of budget cuts, the loss to Franklin County would be profound. I urge people to contact their congressional delegate in support not only of Western Maine Community Action, but all Community Action agencies. We need them more than most people realize.

The Rev. Tim Walmer, moderator

Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry