BARNSTABLE-HYANNIS, MA, March 4, 2014 – The Massachusetts Good Neighbor Energy Fund is appealing to Massachusetts’ residents to consider a donation to the Fund's 2013-14 “Give the Gift of Warmth” campaign. The Fund’s administrator, The Salvation Army, is seeing a heightened urgency of need due to the recent bitter cold temperatures, an economy that has been slow to recover and the relatively high costs of living. At the same time, donations to the Fund are starting to fall short of demand.
The twenty-ninth annual campaign is a cooperative effort between the state's sponsoring energy companies, the general public and The Salvation Army to provide energy assistance to those Massachusetts households who, because of temporary financial difficulty, cannot meet a month's energy expense and are not eligible for state or federal energy assistance funds. The Good Neighbor campaign's 2013-14 goal is to raise $550,000 and help more than 2,000 households.
“We have been experiencing an increase in the number of inquiries by those families in the state who are in need of energy assistance,” said Major David Kelly of The Salvation Army. “We think this can be largely attributed to the bitter cold temperatures we’ve had over the last month along with the relatively high costs of living. With this in mind, we ask that all our neighbors in the state consider enclosing a gift of any amount in the green donation envelopes found in your utility bills or by donating online at www.magoodneighbor.org.”
The Fund is often the last resort for families 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. For example, a household size of 2 would need to have a total gross yearly income of between $41,932 and $55,908 to qualify. A household of 4 would need to have a yearly income of between $61,664 and $82,218 to qualify, etc. This year's Fund disbursement is $250 per eligible household per heating season.
“Twenty-five utilities in the Commonwealth, including Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, support the Fund through various giving programs,” stated Virginia Anthony, Co-Chairperson of the Fund and Manager Customer Relations at Columbia Gas of Massachusetts. “But the generosity of all our energy customers is the key to keeping our neighbors in need warm this year.”
Massachusetts residents who wish to support the Fund can “Give the Gift of Warmth” by using the green-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. Anyone can also donate with a credit card online 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, Massachusetts, 02021-1408. 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 Corps Community Center or call (800) 334-3047 if you live in area codes 508, 617, 781 or 978 or (800) 262-1320 if you live in area code 413 or Web:www.magoodneighbor.org.