FREEPORT — Near single-digit temperatures last weekend helped set the stage for the most successful heating fuel and food assistance fundraiser for Freeport Community Services.
Sue Mack, family services coordinator at FCS, is a nearly 10-year veteran of the 24-hour “Freeze Out” fundraising drive, where she and other volunteers stand in the winter cold to help raise awareness about the need for heating assistance for residents in Freeport and Pownal.
“It was excellent,” Mack said. “I believe we raised more than $12,000, we’re still counting some of it, and about 800 pounds of food. It was a success in every way.”
That money beats last year’s cash total by about $1,000, she said, adding that the cold weather likely played a part in this year’s success, forcing people to acknowledge the harshness of the season.
“The wind was pretty nasty,” said Mack, who stayed outside from 10 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday for the fundraiser. “We had some very positive experiences all the way through. Lots of thumbs up and horn-honking. I’m looking forward to next year.”
Paula O’Brien and Patti Bruce, along with three Boy Scouts and two dads from Troop 58, were among the others who braved the cold weather in front of First Parish Church, 40 Main St.
The cash not only helps supplement the community’s growing need for heating fuel assistance, but will also contribute to the buying food and supplies for the FCS food pantry, which has seen a 20 percent spike in demand for service since 2009.
One of the amusing highlights of the event, Mack said, was when one of the scout’s dads left his tent to see how things were going and ended up chasing it because the wind had picked it up and carried it down the street.
Although Mack and her companions are still debating how long they’ve been holding the fundraiser – it’s either nine or 10 years – she said she is always encouraged by the public’s support.
“I want to give my sincere thanks to the community,” Mack said. “I was really cheered by community response. Freeport and Pownal are the best communities the world.”
Patti Bruce, left, Paula O’Brien and Sue Mack stand in front of First Parish Church on Freeport’s Main Street, Saturday, Feb. 16, as part of a Freeport Community Services’ 24-hour fundraiser to raise awareness about heating fuel assistance. Mack, family services coordinator at FCS, said this year’s fundraiser set a new record with about $12,000 raised and 800 pounds of food donated.