In the Christmas spirit: Anonymous donor sets up 10K fuel fund challenge

NW 39 heaters

HEATER BONANZA — After seeing last week’s story in The Bridgton News about the Bridgton Emergency Fuel Fund running out of money, an anonymous reader stepped up and bought 10 1,500-watt infrared heaters at $100 each at True Value Hardware in Bridgton. Posing with the infrared heaters and other donated ceramic heaters are Carmen Lone, executive director of the Bridgton Community Center, and BCC volunteer Mike Tarantino.
(Geraghty Photo)


By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

An outpouring of generosity has followed last week’s Bridgton News article detailing the lack of funds in the Bridgton Community Center’s Emergency Fuel Fund.

Two anonymous donors have stepped forward. The first bought 10 1,500-watt infrared heaters at $100 apiece, and the second has promised to donate $1 for every $2 raised by the fuel collaborative, up to $5,000.

The second donor made an immediate donation, and a further pledge of $3,334 for a 10K fuel fund matching challenge. The donor will donate $1 for every $2 raised in the challenge for the goal of raising $10,000 for the fuel collaborative.

Carmen Lone, executive director of the BCC, said the money that’s come in over the last week has allowed the fund to clear the backlog of clients waiting to be helped. A “bar crawl” fundraiser recently put on by local restaurants and pubs also yielded a donation check of $1,200.

Cash donations in any amount — $50, $20, $10, even $5 or $1 — will be gratefully accepted, said Lone. The quicker they can raise $6,668 in matching funds, the more people can be helped.

As for the heaters, Tarantino said after the article hit the stands, “A man called me and said ‘Could you use 10 heaters?’” The next thing he knew, the man had bought them at a sale at Hayes True Value Hardware and had them delivered to the Community Center.

On the Community Center’s Facebook page, Santa is shown stacking the boxed infrared heaters, each of which will heat a room of up to 1,000 square feet or larger. The caption underneath states, “So what do you think about a guy who delivers 1,500-watt infrared heaters so that people can be warm and conserve fuel? Pretty nice guy, I'd say.”

Lone said the heaters will be especially welcome to older persons, who tend to keep their thermostat set much lower than it should be in order to conserve their supply of oil or propane. The heaters are on wheels and, for those who live on one floor, can easily be moved from room to room.

Both anonymous donors hope their gestures will stir others to give whatever they can, as temperatures dip into the teens and even below zero, especially with wind chills factored in. At least another $10,000 will be needed this year to serve the expected number of emergency fuel fund clients. Send donations to BCC Fuel Fund, 15 Depot Street, Bridgton, ME 04009. For questions, call the BCC at 647-3116 or Tarantino at 647-5297 or 671-4138.

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