With poor, elderly and disabled residents of the State of Maine facing deep cuts to the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program which helps keep them warm in the winter, Bangor’s most famous resident, author Stephen King, is stepping forward to help out.
Via King’s three Bangor radio stations WZON 620 AM, WKIT 100.3 FM and The Pulse 103.1 FM, the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation announced it will work with the stations to try to raise as much as $140,000 to be used for fuel assistance for low-income Mainers in the stations’ broadcast area.
As part of the stations’ “Help Keep ME Warm This Winter,” Pat LaMarche, host of The Pulse “Morning Show,” will live in the cold for several days later this month. She’ll will move into a small wooden shed provided by Wooden Wonders of Unity and will air live there beginning at 6 a.m. 11/21. She’ll stay in the shed through Thanksgiving and Black Friday in an effort to remind listeners of the importance of remembering and giving to the less fortunate during the most festive time of the year. LaMarche told RBR-TVBR how the idea was hatched and how local advertisers are hitching their wagons to the whole effort. Listen to the audio, below.
“We’ll match up to $70,000 of the amount raised,” King told The Bangor Daily News. “This economy is terrible and Tabitha and I both worry so much about Bangor because it truly is a working-class town and we are always looking for ways to help, and right now this is a great need.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notified Maine Housing late last month that it should expect to receive $23 million in LIHEAP funds this winter, down from $55.6 million last year. Gov. Paul LePage said last week he would ask the Legislature for funds to bridge the gap.
King said that as the need of the people increases, the help from the government decreases.
Though he and his wife spend much of the winter at their home in Florida, King said their devotion to Bangor never wavers: “We still come back. Our children grew up on West Broadway and that is still where they want to be during the holidays. We don’t forget how cold it is in Maine in the winter.”
RBR-TVBR observation: This is an incredible act of goodwill on the part of King and his stations. It’s also great that they’ve gotten local advertisers involved. This will help not only the residents of Maine, but the stations themselves. It all comes back to the stations that are live and local and engage in their communities.