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News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, February 6, 2014
Warm hearts provide warm homes in Brooklin

by Rich Hewitt

This has been a hard winter for a lot of people, with fluctuations in temperature sometimes spanning 60 degrees within a given week. From lows of minus 17 to highs in the low 50s, the winter has brought many challenges to area folks.

But in Brooklin, a lot of folks have been able to keep warm thanks to the generosity of their neighbors.

According to Selectman Albie Smith, the townspeople have been especially generous this winter donating to the Fund for a Warmer Brooklin in response to an increased need for fuel assistance.

The selectmen established the fund several years ago, asking townspeople to donate, and they have. Although the selectmen oversee the fund, the town has not put any tax dollars into it. It is all run on donations.

Smith explained that the fund was set up to help people who need help with heat, whether it’s oil, gas, wood or electric.

“If they have a heat emergency, we try to help them out with that emergency,” he said.

January was a particularly hard month, Smith said. A combination of the weather and the economy resulted in more people needing heating help.

“We had more requests for help last month than at any other time in the history of the fund,” he said.

But, in a small town, people seem to know when their neighbors are in need. And they have responded.

“We’ve had people send in checks and walk in and ask if we could use more money for the fund,” Smith said. “They know people are hurting.”

One resident, he said, came in, asked if the fund needed more money and said, “I want to help.” A few days later the town received a check for $1,000.

Smith did not want to discuss more specific numbers, but said the donations have kept pace with the increase in requests for help.

“The donations have more than covered what we’ve had to expend last month,” he said. “That’s a terrific thing.”

The response says a lot about the people in town, Smith said, adding that people should be proud that they have been able to help their neighbors.

“Not only are they caring about what happens to their neighbors, they are stepping up when they see the need,” he said. “This is a very nice thing that has happened here.”