$155K donation supports emergency home heating assistance

by | Feb 18, 2020

Worcester Community Action Council, has received a donation of $155,000 from the United Way of Central Massachusetts directed by National Grid and designated to support the agency’s Emergency Fuel Fund of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), commonly known as heating/fuel assistance.

“We are most grateful for this generous donation,” said WCAC Executive Director Marybeth Campbell. “These resources will be utilized to help vulnerable households throughout Central Massachusetts. Donated funds are critical in bridging shortfalls due to drastic cuts in our federal funding.”

“National Grid is honored to be part of this community and we are committed to helping our customers in need,” said Ed White, vice president, US Giving for National Grid. “We are proud to again partner with the United Way this year, and are especially pleased to support the Worcester Community Action Council in assisting so many of our customers and neighbors with their energy costs.”

National Grid VP of U.S. Giving Ed White and United Way of Central Massachusetts CEO Tim Garvin present donation of $155,000 to WCAC’s Executive Director Marybeth Campbell & COO Kerry Brennan, accompanied by United Way Board members Sheilah Dooley and Aivi Nguyen. [Submitted Photo]

“It doesn’t need to be a bad winter, to be a bad winter,” said United Way of Central Massachusetts CEO Tim Garvin. “We are thrilled to partner with National Grid and WCAC to protect vulnerable households and families throughout Central Massachusetts.”

According to WCAC’s Director of Energy Resources Mary Knittle, more than 700 households will benefit from this donation. She noted that donated funds can be utilized to provide an additional 100 gallons of delivered fuel when LIHEAP benefits are not sufficient and a family is in need; to stop a shut-off or restore utility service outside the traditional LIHEAP season; and to assist households who are in true, immediate crisis to obtain services while they gather necessary documents to apply for LIHEAP. The average benefit amount is currently $ 210, with home heating oil prices averaging $2.88/gallon this week.

Federal resources for Massachusetts home heating assistance program have dropped from $200 million to $130 million over the past several years. This simply does not provide sufficient funding for families to heat their homes for the full winter, with most families only able to afford 1 ¾ tanks of oil, versus the 3-4 full tanks generally required to get through a full Massachusetts winter. Without this funding, families are forced to make difficult and often dangerous choices to heat their home.

Households struggling with high home heating bills are encouraged to reach out to WCAC. Information about eligibility and requirements available at www.WCAC.net/fuel