Franklin Countys First News

United Way of the Tri-Valley Area responds to COVID-19 pandemic

Homemade masks are being collected by United Way of the Tri-Valley Area.

United Way of the Tri-Valley Area is coordinating the collection of funds for local nonprofits and homemade masks for distribution throughout the community.

In the greater Franklin County, United Way is seeking donations to The Very Basics Fund. The fund supports non-profit organizations, including 501c3 nonprofit organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive a tax-deductible contribution, such as schools, faith-based organizations, and other public entities, 501c4, 501c5, and 501c6 organizations in Franklin County, Livermore and Livermore Falls. Those donations will help nonprofits provide for basic needs such as fuel, food and shelter to those significantly affected by COVID-19.

Nonprofits, including food pantries, schools, health care institutions and municipalities are encouraged to apply to The Very Basics Fund here. According to United Way, every effort is being made to get money back into the community to help those affected sooner rather than later.

For those looking for additional ways to help United Way is coordinating the distribution of hand-made masks for use in the community. Check out this video linked from Dartmouth-Hitchcock for guidelines on how to make the masks.

If you are symptom-free, have the material, the skills and the time, consider making masks. The tighter the weave on the fabric the better. There is a tote outside the UWTVA office at 218 Fairbanks Road to collect masks.

For any questions, please email or call the office at 778-5048. These masks are not a substitute for the N-95 respirators recommended by the Center for Disease Control, but may reduce the risk of airborne droplet spread in the absence of approved Personal Protective Equipment, which is in short supply.

For more information about the United Way and any up-coming events or initiatives, visit or visit United Way on Facebook at

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12 Responses »

  1. I appreciate the effort and concern for health care providers shown by all who are sewing masks. These masks however should not be considered to be protective against airborn infections such as COVID-19. At a minimum they are a last resort and should only be used with a face shield. We should be demanding that the federal government use its authority to distribute and contract for the manufacture of approved masks, shields, gowns, gloves, etc. for our first responders and health care providers who are putting their own personal safety at risk by caring for COVID-19 patients.

  2. After the Ebola outbreak in 2014-15, Obama's NSC prepared a Pandemic Playbook in 2016. Had it been followed by the Trump administration, coordinated preparations for this pandemic would have begun in mid-January. Evidently, it was ignored because it had Obama's name on it. The small part of Trump's playbook that is written is misspelled in crayon.

    “Nobody ever expected a thing like this,” Trump said in a Fox News interview on Tuesday. Intel in January was there urging preparation. Now we get to bake sale our way out of this.

  3. March 26, 2020 - First case of the Coronavirus in Franklin County. It would be great if
    the Maine CDC would break the county counts down by town so we would have a heightened
    awareness as to where to use extreme caution.

  4. Now that I think about it I've seen a lot of out of state license plates lately. :-)

  5. To OM....I believe the CDC has stated that the virus case numbers that they give out to the public are adjusted to not include people in Maine whose legal residence is another state. Those virus case counts are included in the count for their home states. Translated...that means the one case in Franklin County is not an out-of-stater, but is also means there could be more than one individual presently in Franklin County who has tested positive for the virus.

    In regards to homemade the grocery store today I encountered at least 2 occasions where people where having conversations a few feet apart...but blocking the way so others had to walk between them (as well as through the aerosols suspended in the air around them) to proceed up the aisle or exit.. So it seems that even though homemade masks may not provide full protection like an M-95 mask..under circumstances like the aforementioned, they are probably better than none at all as it would provide at least some limited protection for the public where there is little else available,.

  6. To Lindy...Not what I meant. Those out of state plates I've been seeing are probably people fleeing other states with high case numbers. My step daughter who lives down Augusta way says she is seeing a lot of out of state campers on the road too. I don't think the campgrounds are open yet.

  7. Plumbers and caretakers here in Maine have been kept very busy recently opening summer homes for people from away so they can escape the virus and come here where it is safe!? Only problem is, they're probably bringing it with them! Maybe they should be screened in Kittery, or better yet blow the bridge. I believe the article said that these plumbers interviewed said usually camps and summer homes weren't opened until late May or early June. Even a red bandanna might help!

  8. Our governor should be on this but is not. Rhode Island just closed their boarder to people coming from New York.

  9. The boarder was not is not closed. They are pulling over cars with NY plates when they cross and telling those people to stay isolated for 14 days.

  10. There has been a lot of discussion lately on how it is more difficult to control an epidemic in a democratic country than in one where citizens have few individual rights and the government has strong control over them. Gov. Mills said she has no power to stop people from coming in from other states. But, she did say they have installed signs on the main roads coming in telling people from 'hot zones' that they should quarantine themselves for 14 days.

  11. mort stabulis...Rhode Island is also hunting New Yorkers down that are already in the state. The federal government has closed down more than three quarters of Maine's border. Why not close the other less than a quarter of the border (New Hampshire).

  12. Maine only borders 1 State and I hardly doubt that will close.. Rhode Island is checking all out of state plates.. Checking in at Visitor stop and getting info, If staying in RI then told to isolate for 14 days.. Anyone just driving through can go. Stopping just New York plates was stopped rather quickly.