AUGUSTA — In response to the extraordinary generosity of Maine people, businesses, and organizations looking to help during these challenging times, Governor Janet Mills launched a new online resource, coronavirus.maine.gov/mainehelps, to outline ways in which Maine people can support efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The kindness and generosity of Maine people during this challenging time is nothing short of inspiring. I want to thank all of you for stepping up with innovative solutions to ensure your neighbors and fellow citizens have what they need,” said Governor Mills. “This resource will help those looking to lend a hand and encourage more Maine people to target their skills, resources, and time in the most effective and safe ways to do the most good for our state.”
The new resource, which will be updated regularly, outlines four predominate ways Maine people can address immediate needs: 1) financial assistance; 2) health care and medical assistance; 3) small business assistance; and 4) connections with family, friends, and neighbors.
Extending Financial Support:
The Governor is encouraging people to direct financial support to the state’s nine United Ways, which administers local relief funds for COVID-19 to support critical needs such as food and shelter. Details about those funds are available at: unitedwaysofmaine.org/covid.
“These funds are a concrete way for people in Maine to donate to the county or counties that they wish to support,” said Joleen Bedard, executive director of the United Way of Androscoggin County and president of the United Ways of Maine. “Mainers are generous, and the United Ways of Maine greatly appreciate their support as we respond to the emergency needs of people in our community.”
The Governor is also encouraging Maine people to look to the Maine Community Foundation, which is distributing grants from a statewide emergency response fund to regional and community-based nonprofits, area agencies on aging, community action programs, homeless shelters, and food pantries that are responding to COVID-19. Details are available at: mainecf.org/initiatives-impact/COVID-19-response.
“While all Maine people are responding to challenges from COVID-19, for some it is a matter of actual survival,” said Steve Rowe, president of the Maine Community Foundation. “If ever there was a time to help our vulnerable neighbors, this is it.”
Supporting the Health Care and Medical Response:
The Governor is encouraging Maine people to donate certified medical supplies, like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), through THIS ONLINE FORM. While Governor Mills deeply appreciates Maine people who have volunteered to make masks, the Maine CDC is not recommending that health care providers use donated homemade masks at this time because they may not meet certification standards.
The Governor is encouraging medical providers and public health professionals with requisite medical experience to volunteer through MaineResponds.org.
The Governor also encourages Maine people to donate blood via the American Red Cross of Maine, which is experiencing a critical shortage of blood donations.
Supporting Local Small Businesses:
Small businesses are the backbone of Maine’s economy, and COVID-19 is taking a serious toll on them. The Governor encourages Maine people to safely support local businesses through efforts like PayitForwardMaine while being mindful of crucial physical distancing guidelines and using online transactions or pickup and delivery services.
Mainers Connecting With Mainers:
Most importantly, Governor Mills encourages all Maine people to ensure the COVID-19 epidemic does not also become an epidemic of loneliness, as the imperative of physical distancing to combat the spread of this virus keeps families, friends and neighbors apart for extended periods of time.
While keeping physical distance is paramount, now is the time to strengthen and renew social bonds with friends, family and community. Make a phone call. Use video tools, like FaceTime or Zoom, to have face-to-face conversations. Connect on social networks to engage with your community and identify businesses or other services you may need or wish to support.
For additional information and resources, and to stay informed on the latest updates on Maine’s response to COVID-19, visit coronavirus.maine.gov.