Local program helps those in need of heat this winter
By: Chelsea Priest
As the temperatures drop, the federal funding for heating assistance may also be dropping this year. It's assistance that over 30,000 families in Rhode Island count on. Families like the Rogers, who with a sick child at home, had a tough time making ends meet.
Last winter, the Rogers received help from the Good Neighbor Energy Fund, a Salvation Army program in it's 28th year. A program that with the help of donations pays one months energy bill for those in need. Rachel Rogers says, "You can concentrate on something else, it doesn't eat at you constantly because you know it's not just you who is affected, you have children you have to keep, and you have to take care of and you have to provide for."
This year the program has set a goal to raise $550,000 to go to families in need. Major Wendy Kountz, Rhode Island State Coordinator for the Salvation Army says, "We are seeing that the need is greater this year, our phones have been already ringing since October with people needing help just getting their heat turned on."
Yellow envelops can be found in your energy bills to send in donations. Rogers says any amount can help. "You don't realize that those few dollars you put in, you don't realize how many people you touch. For my family it's four people. That month you helped me, you didn't just help me you helped four people."
Last year the program helped over 1,000 Rhode Island families.