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TO:                  Superintendents of Schools and School Principals

FROM:            Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner of Education

DATE:             October 5, 2005

RE:                   Operation Keep ME Warm – Looking for Volunteers

            Governor Baldacci, L.L. Bean, the Maine Oil Dealers, and the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority are pleased to announce the 2nd year of Maine’s highly successful unique public-private partnership Operation Keep ME Warm.

            This statewide project is aimed at weatherizing the homes of 3,000 of Maine's most needy citizens - low income senior citizens - in an effort to keep them warm throughout the winter months. This is a major undertaking as we need to recruit over 3,000 volunteers. We are looking for 1,000 teams of 3-4 people to give a day of their time during the Keep ME Warm blitz, October 28 – 31, 2005. Volunteers will be weather stripping doors, caulking and covering windows, etc. On site training for all volunteers will be provided.

            Last December many of our students participated in this program and I am happy to report that student volunteers consistently outnumbered adult volunteers statewide.  The giving spirit of our schools literally translated into many warm winter days for 3,000 of Maine's most needy senior citizens.   

            “Make A Difference Day” is Saturday, October 22, 2005 and the Keep ME Warm blitz is scheduled for the following weekend.  I believe that Operation Keep ME Warm could offer the perfect community service project through participation in “Make A Difference Day”.  This could be the start of a terrific tradition for your schools.

            On behalf of the Governor and the 3,000 senior citizens in need, we are asking if you'd take part in this very special project by announcing it, and encouraging your students to sign up in teams and volunteer a day of their time to weatherize homes anytime between October 28-31, 2005. We would also encourage you to forward this important message to faculty, staff and alumni.  Organize a day for students to spend in their community! How wonderful to be able to say that your school was able to weatherize 25, 50, 100 or more homes in your community!

            Interested students can sign up in teams online at or by calling 207-287-5649.

            We all know how important it is for students to stay connected to their communities. This is a wonderful community service project that will make a difference in so many people's lives.  Any assistance on your part would be most helpful.