[Editor's note: The following information derives from a Salvation Army press statement.]
The Salvation Army, the administrator of the 2012–13 Massachusetts Good Neighbor Energy Fund campaign, announces that as of Monday, Dec. 3, the Fund will be available to households on an emergency basis due to the “urgency of need” throughout the state.
The fund will open to all qualified candidates on Wednesday, Jan. 2.
A cooperative effort between the state's energy companies, their customers and The Salvation Army, the fund helps households in temporary crisis who do not qualify for federal or state assistance with the payment of their energy expenses. The fund’s 28th annual “Give The Gift of Warmth” campaign's goal is to raise $650,000 and help more than 2,000 households.
“As we’re seeing a heightened need for assistance, we’ve decided to once again open the Fund in December for emergency cases only,” said Major Robert Goding of The Salvation Army in Canton.
“Due to the struggling economy and relatively high cost of living, we’re anticipating the number of requests for energy assistance will continue to rise as the temperatures drop this winter season.”
Goding added that the fund has raised more than $18.3 million and assisting more than 80,450 households since its inception in 1985. The fund is often the last resort for households who have not qualified for federal and state assistance programs.
To qualify for assistance from the fund, an applicant's gross household income must fall between 60 and 80 percent of the state’s median income levels.
This year's fund disbursement is $350 per eligible household per heating season. Massachusetts residents who wish to support the fund can “Give the Gift of Warmth” by using the mint-colored Good Neighbor Energy Fund donation envelope found as an insert in monthly energy bills or through the 'add a dollar' program some energy companies offer which allows customers to contribute on their monthly bill payment by one dollar or more.
Customers can also donate with a credit card on-line by visiting www.magoodneighbor.org and checking the appropriate box or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. Or donors can simply mail a check payable to "The Good Neighbor Energy Fund" and send it to The Salvation Army, 25 Shawmut Road, Canton, MA 02021.
Participating energy companies support their respective customers’ generosity through various giving programs. For more information on the fund and how to apply, visit your local Salvation Army Service Center or call 800-334-3047 if you live in area codes 508, 617, 781 or 978. Web: www.magoodneighbor.org.