Agencies Struggling to Provide Heating Assistance 

It’s no surprise that a lot of people this year are having a hard time paying their heating bills.Now two agencies in Eastern Maine that are there to help them, say they’re struggling too.Phones have been busy at Washington Hancock Community Agency in Ellsworth, with people seeking fuel assistance.Last year they helped 6500 families using LiHeap funds,that’s the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance program.They found there are a lot of people who don’t quite qualify for the federal program, but still need help.”Several years ago we recognized there was a great deal of need to provide some funding and assistance to families who would otherwise fall through the cracks.”That’s when they created The Heating and Warmth fund or THAW. The Maine Seacoast Mission has a similar emergency fund but this year they’re both struggling to meet the need.”We have seen double the requests over last year and that’s just for heating assistance.”So far this year, WHCA has taken 200 requests from people for THAW funds, that compares to 150 for all of last year.”These are families that thought they would never ever request assistance, or families that were too proud to request assistance.””The folks who have to make decisions between fixing their car and heating their house, those who have to make decisions between how much they can buy for food.”In order to fill the need of these folks, the agencies need to make sure the funds don’t run dry. WHCA has a goal of raising $100,000 for the THAW fund. So far, they have less than half.”So this is a plea for assistance to those most in need.”To make sure all Mainers can stay warm through the winter.If you want to make a donation to the emergency assistance funds you can send a check to the following addresses:WHCA THAW FundPO Box 299Ellsworth, Maine 04605Maine Sea Coast Mission127 West StreetBar Harbor, Maine 04609Please write “Heating Assistance” in the memo part of the check.