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"I've enclosed my heartfelt contribution to Heat Up! Last year after the October storm and a series of personal struggles, I found myself in need of the programs of Community Action. This year, I am not reapplying, but it is good to know that Community Action is working to make sure that people in a really tight spot have some place to turn.
I hope many others join me in donating to help our neighbors in need."
-Lois, a former Fuel Assistance client.
Help Us Raise $50,000 to Heat Up! Our Neighbors in Need!
As the official LIHEAP provider for Franklin and Hampshire Counties, Community Action's Fuel Assistance Program helps to heat more than 12,000 local homes each winter, but since stomaching the $4.5 million dollar cut to LIHEAP funding earlier this year, Community Action's Fuel Assistance staff is struggling to meet double the demand with half the staff and half the resources. Congress' chilling outlook on Fuel Assistance will literally leave thousands of local families out in the cold.
"While I feel fortunate to have my job, it's heartbreaking to shake the hands of our elderly applicants and meet parents with young children, knowing there's nothing more I can do to keep them warm this winter," said Betsy Hart, a Greenfield resident and three-year Fuel Assistance staff member. "I've met hundreds of our neighbors and I know firsthandthe difference donations can make." Not only is Betsy a Fuel Assistance employee, she's also a first-time Fuel Assistance client.
And she's in good company. Our Executive Director, Clare Higgins, knows that most of our Fuel Assistance applicants are working families unable to combat the high-costs of home heating with fixed low-incomes.
"Our friends and neighbors need our help. After the Halloween storm, many of us endured living without heat for a few days. Just imagine living like that all winter," says Higgins. "Fortunately, this year's temperatures have been fairly mild but we live in New England---the worst is yet to come! Elders and families will go without food and forgo lifesaving prescriptions in order to keep from freezing. "
For more information about Heat Up!, please contact:
Jessye Deane at 413-376-1165