WATERVILLE — United Way of Mid-Maine has awarded an additional $27,764.50 in COVID-19 relief funding to 13 mid-Maine non-profit organizations through its Community First Fund. Organizations throughout Maine are finding themselves under resourced to serve a growing demand for crucial services and basic needs, according to a news release from Bethany Drouin, resource development director.

The Community First Fund was initially established to provide funding to organizations affected by the pandemic but will be available year-round to fund programs addressing emergent needs in the community and crisis recovery.

“When the Coronavirus first hit, we realized we needed to establish a way to support our partner agencies outside of our general granting process,” said Drouin in the release. “The Community First Fund will provide year-round access to funds that will be crucial in addressing emergent needs in our communities.”

The organization has been able to provide this funding through local support from individual donors as well as businesses like GHM Insurance Agency, and groups like the Rotary Club of Waterville. Organizations who have most recently received funding are:
• CenterPoint Community Church Food Pantry;
• Central Maine Growth Council;
• Children’s Discovery Museum;
• Cornville/Athens Food Cupboard;
• Family Violence Project;
• Kennebec Behavioral Health;
• Messalonskee Middle School;
• Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce;
• Partnership for Children’s Oral Health;
• People Who Care Food Cupboard;
• Sexual Assault Crisis & Support;
• Skowhegan Community Food Cupboard; and
• Town of Jackman.

“During these very stressful times, Kennebec Behavioral Health has continued to be here for our community members. And United Way of Mid-Maine is here for us. Thanks to the support of UWMM and other organizations, KBH has been able to keep our focus on the health and safety of our clients and staff,” said Tina Chapman, development and communications director at KBH, according to the release.

“With a combination of telehealth and in person services, during which staff and clients utilize personal protective equipment and follow all CDC guidelines, we are pleased that we have provided largely uninterrupted services to our clients, patients and Clubhouse members. We know we all have a long road ahead of us. If you or someone you care about is struggling with mental health or substance use concerns, please contact us at 1-888-322-2136. Together, we will get through the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Town of Jackman Food Cupboard. Photo courtesy of the Town of Jackman

“The Town of Jackman is both honored and excited to have been selected as a recipient of the UWMM’s Community First Fund,” said Victoria Forkus, Jackman town manager, according to the release. “We are hopeful that our Food Pantry, and community members in need, will benefit from these grant funds. We are grateful that the UWMM recognized the increased community need in Jackman created by the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

United Way of Mid-Maine has invested a total of $55,514.50 in COVID-19 relief funding to 22 nonprofit organizations servings Somerset, western Waldo, and northern Kennebec counties since March. It continues to collect donations for its Community First Fund and distribute funding for COVID-19 relief.

Any non-profit organization serving Somerset, northern Kennebec, or western Waldo counties can apply for funding by visiting uwmm.org/community-first-fund-application-for-funding/.

To help support the Community First Fund, consider making a donation online at uwmm.org/community-first-fund/ or text COMMUNITY to 207-424-2429.

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