Impact Stories


The Steeves Family

A mom and dad were enjoying a breakfast out when they were told they should head home immediately because smoke was coming from their house. By the time they had arrived, it was too late. Donni and Matt Steeves’ three children, including a newborn, were safely being watched elsewhere, but their pets were not so fortunate and they lost all their belongings. In the aftermath, the Steeves family received support from relatives and many community organizations.

Among the helpers was Marilyn from the Danforth Food Pantry, and the Heart of Maine United Way. They were there to help with much needed diapers, blankets, coats, and other supplies for Alex, Chase, and Ava. 

While many in the community know United Way as a fundraising organization, money is not the only donation we accept. Over the years we’ve collected millions of pounds of food, coats, socks, and so much more. Our motto… lead with “YES!”

So in the spring of 2021, when a simple phone call led to the donation of a tractor trailer truck full of baby supplies and clothes we said YES! 

Heart of Maine United Way is one of the only nonprofits in the region who can accept a donation that large and get it distributed quickly and efficiently. The Steeves Family was just one of the many benefitting from this donation. In our five counties, 59 agencies received a share of the 58,000 diapers, 1,980 packages of baby wipes, 1,260 bottles of baby shampoo, 720 blankets, formula for 54,849 bottles, and 474 coats! Now that’s a lot of HOPE!

Adult and Family Literacy (Literacy Volunteers of Bangor)

Gladys came to the United States over 10 years ago leaving her home country of Colombia behind in search of a better life for her and her family. An educator in her home country, her limited English hurt her ability to work in her chosen field forcing her to work in food service for many years. 

Enter United Way funded Literacy Volunteers of Bangor. Since working with her tutor, Gladys has made incredible strides. She became a homeowner, helped her son get a full scholarship to UMaine, completed the long process of having her credentials translated and was hired as a teacher in a local school teaching Spanish. Gladys and her family are one example of how together, UNITED, we can build a strong community for all.

Meals on Wheels of Waldo County via Spectrum Generations

A gentleman in his late 60’s Charlie* began receiving Meals on Wheels due to health issues. He had difficulty with his mobility and was not able to physically get himself to the grocery store for food. Enter Waldo County Meals on Wheels and volunteer driver, Marie. 

During a meal delivery Marie noticed he was limping and having increased difficulty when walking. Marie asked if he was feeling okay or needed anything. Charlie shared that his leg was swollen and in pain, and his doctor had advised him to go to the emergency room. Charlie then shared that he had no way to get to the hospital.  He was also very concerned that no one would be able to look after his beloved dog Taz* if he were to be hospitalized. 

Marie finished delivering meals and started making calls. She was able to get Charlie to the hospital and care for Taz. Charlie was admitted to the hospital and was able to focus on his needs. This is one of hundreds of stories of volunteers, like Marie, going above and beyond for our community.

*Not his real name