The worst of news became the best of news for Rockland's AIO Food Pantry when United Mid-Coast Charities presented a check June 29 to replace money that was stolen from the food pantry early in April. The donation by UMCC was a matching grant to a GoFundMe campaign started by Rockland businesswoman Sarah Vokey in response to news of the theft.

Vokey, owner of Thorndike Creamery in Rockland, had turned a going-out-of-business, goodbye event into a fundraiser for AIO. Two days after it was delivered to the food pantry, the money she collected, more than $2,000, was stolen.

Vokey subsequently started a GoFundMe campaign, and shortly after its launch, UMCC announced its intention to match the money raised in that effort.

"Food insecurity is a significant challenge in the communities UMCC serves in Knox and Waldo counties," said John Viehman, vice president of the UMCC board. "We saw someone raising money the way Sarah did initially and we were impressed. Then to see that good work erased was simply tragic. Offering a challenge to the community and then seeing the immediate and overwhelming response was extremely motivating. Fifty people stepped up to donate and all together we more than doubled the original donation."

AIO board President Sherry Cobb said, "AIO is grateful for the continued support it received from UMCC. We are so fortunate to have an organization like UMCC reinforcing the good will of the GoFundMe donors."

Founded in 1942, United Mid-Coast Charities supports more than 50 local charities providing social, medical and educational services to residents of the Midcoast area. Give once. Support many. Donations can be sent to UMCC at P.O. Box 205, Camden, ME 04843. For more information, call 236-2299.