BERLIN — Androscoggin Valley Hospital, Harvest Christian Fellowship Pastor Robert Haynes, Berlin Superintendent of Schools Corinne Cascadden, and John Tarbox were all recognized at the annual Granite United Way Northern Region celebration recently.
Patrick Tufts, president and CEO of Granite United Way, said the hard work of staff and volunteers resulted in a total community investment of $97,000 in the northern region.
He said United Way’s information and referral specialists at 2-1-1 NH took over 47,000 calls from across the state over the past year with nearly 1,500 calls from the North Country. Tufts said the organization’s free tax preparation service did nearly 170 tax returns that collected over $150,000 in refunds for filers.
Androscoggin Valley Hospital was recognized with the United Way Northern Region’s Give Award, given to an individual or agency that has demonstrated extraordinary generosity to their community. Laura Boucher, United Way Northern Region area manager, said AVH holds one of the largest United Way campaigns in the region and significantly increased its participation in 2018.
“They continue to be a true community partner and leader for the Northern Region,” said Boucher.
Accepting the award were AVH President Michael Peterson and James Patry, senior director of patient experience and marketing.
Robert Haynes was given the Advocate Award, which goes to an individual or company that has served as the voice for others and embodies the spirit of helping others. Haynes said his church oversees both the Feeding Hope Food Pantry and the Community Cafe. In 2018, he said the cafe served more than 2,500 meals at its weekly dinners and described how the meal has created a sense of community among participants. The food pantry provides free food to hundreds of people in need. Boucher noted that Pastor Rob and his crew assist United Way with its Letter Carrier Food Drive with the food going to stock local food pantries like Feeding Hope. For his part, Haynes said United Way is the pantry’s largest donor.
The Volunteer of the Year award went to John Tarbox for his many contributions to the community.
“John is someone I can always count on to volunteer at the food drive and the United Way Day of Caring. He is always there and he always puts in a full day,” said Boucher.
Haynes said Tarbox has volunteered at the cafe and food pantry for nine years and is always positive.
“His heart is to help others,” said Haynes.
A special award was given to outgoing Berlin Superintendent of Schools Corinne Cascadden. Cascadden is stepping down after more than 40 years in education including 10 years as superintendent.
Boucher said Cascadden has been a champion for the Berlin school system for many years. With a grant from United Way, Boucher said Cascadden has implemented the Reading Plus Program at Berlin Middle School since 2014. The online intervention program helps students improve their reading skills.
“The progress on this program has been phenomenal,” Cascadden said.
Granite Awards for the Northern Region, which are given to companies that raise over $100,000 during their workplace campaigns, went to Eversource and UPS. Tufts said Eversource raised nearly $400,000 for communities across the state while UPS also hosts a golf tournament each year to benefit United Way.
Tufts said five years ago Granite United Way set a target of raising $9 million statewide and this year reached that goal, delivering over $11 million in total community impact. The non-profit reduced its administrative fee on designated gifts to five percent, ensuring that 95 percent went to the nonprofit designated by the donor.
Looking ahead, Tufts said Granite United Way has set a new goal of raising $11 million annually by 2023, which would result in a total impact of $20 million.