Frigid January increases need for energy assistance
In late January, Minnesotans waved goodbye to what had been a relatively mild winter. Temperatures plummeted to well below zero for days on end, forcing schools and businesses across the state to shut down.
That kind of unrelenting cold creates serious problems for low-income families, elderly persons on fixed incomes, and others. Many of these people are forced to spend extra money on heating their homes, leaving less money for other essentials like food and clothing.
Recently, HeatShare helped a single mother who’d endured three devastating events in the span of one month: she lost her job, had a car accident, and her father passed away. These tragedies led to her falling behind on her energy bill and receiving a shutoff notice. But through HeatShare, the mother was able to pay her past-due bill and keep her home warm.
“HeatShare is a godsend to people like this,” said Mike McGlone, HeatShare director. “The program gives them hope for better days ahead.”
HeatShare funds are also used to help pay for propane or fuel oil. These fuels are not covered by the Minnesota Cold Weather Rule, which can protect people from having their heat shut off.
“If you use propane or fuel oil and you run out of money to buy more, you are in a very difficult situation,” said McGlone, adding that most people who depend on these fuels live in rural areas.
A few weeks ago, HeatShare helped a hard-working single father purchase heating oil. He’d run out of money after his hours were cut in December.
“We were able to provide him with enough fuel to keep his family warm,” McGlone said. “He was beyond grateful.”
Winter is far from over, and the need for HeatShare assistance will grow in the weeks and months ahead.
Please help The Salvation Army meet this need by donating today. There are two easy ways to give:
- Donate online
- Look for the HeatShare donation section on your monthly utility bill
The Salvation Army will use your donation to keep the heat on for thousands of Minnesota families. In rare cases, funds are even used to pay for furnace repairs (read success story).
Since 1982, HeatShare has provided about $42 million worth of assistance to more than 155,000 households. Annually, about 4,200 households receive an average of $400 to keep their homes warm.
Please join The Salvation Army by volunteering or making a donation to support your local community. Stay current on how The Salvation Army is changing lives in Minnesota and North Dakota by signing up for our e-Newsletters.