As part of their ongoing commitment to the people and economic vitality of northern Maine, Irving Woodlands has committed $30,000 to support efforts to fight hunger in Aroostook County. 

The donation was presented Wednesday to leaders with Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP), who will support efforts County-wide, targeting low-income families struggling to put food on the table, especially in light of the pandemic. 

Irving Woodlands, LLC., was again set to be the title sponsor for the Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog 250-mile race in Fort Kent.  With the cancellation of this year’s event, like many others due to COVID-19, the company wanted to direct the funds to benefit people of the region. 

“The annual dog sled race is a favorite on our calendar – for our company and employees.  It’s a great opportunity to connect with our neighbors and share in the amazing community spirit that makes the event possible.  With the event not happening this year we wanted to give back to community groups that make such a powerful difference to those in need.   We worked with the great folks at ACAP last spring and connected with them again to see how we might help,” explained Doug Cyr, Regional Human Resource Manager Irving Woodlands, LLC. 

In honor of what would have been the 29th Annual Can-Am Crown Sled Dog Races, and for all the northern Maine community has done to host the activity for nearly three decades, Irving Woodlands making the gift to ACAP on behalf of the hundreds of volunteers who commit themselves to hosting the popular event year after year. 

For its part, ACAP will work with community organizations to ensure the dollars are directed to support those in need from the St. John Valley to southern Aroostook.  The agency, which operates in nine locations across The County, has 170 staff – including family coaches and navigators – that work directly with low-income households and others in need. 

“Our team members have done heroic things to support Aroostook County households through this most difficult year.  This generous support from Irving Woodlands, will help us fill the gaps where other programs and services fall short and families, alongside our team, are left struggling to find resources,” said Jason Parent, ACAP CEO.  “We are ever so grateful to Irving company leadership and the hardworking employees who continue to not only invest in the economic livelihood of our region, but the people who make our community the wonderful place it is.  This donation will make a tremendous difference throughout our region in the coming months, while we all look forward to better days, including the return of the Can-Am races next year.” 

Since the very early days of the COVID-19 Pandemic ACAP has been quick to respond to community needs regionwide.  Among the initiatives, the agency has prepared and delivered more than 100,000 meals to families, operated an emergency 24-hour wellness shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness, administered several rental and utility assistance programs, and provided quarantine social supports for individuals asked to isolate or quarantine because of suspected exposure or diagnosis with the virus.  This week, ACAP launched a new Vaccine Helpline to assist individuals under the age of 60 who are unable to schedule appointments call to receive assistance in getting their shots. 

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About Irving Woodlands: This year marks the 75th anniversary of Irving Woodlands in Aroostook County.  Today the company manages 1.25 million acres in the North Maine Woods that are environmentally certified under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council.  Every year the company plants over 3 million trees.  The growing wood supply sustains sawmills at Ashland and Dixfield also supports more than 15 non-Irving operations across the state.  Together, Irving direct jobs and employment of forest contractors accounts for over 1000 jobs in the state.  In addition, the company spends over $120 million on goods and services from valued Maine suppliers (includes wood purchases). 

About Aroostook County Action Program: Aroostook County Action Program provides the people of Aroostook County with services and resources that help individuals and families achieve greater economic independence. As a leader, or in partnership with others, ACAP provides guidance to the community in responding to emerging human needs in the areas of community health, early care and education, energy and housing, and workforce development services. Aroostook County Action Program continues to accept new clients as well as serve existing clients through a vast array of programming. To learn more about available services available, contact the ACAP Team at 207-764-3721.

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