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Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Dear Editor:

The American Red Cross of the Black Belt will begin accepting appointments for Project S.H.A.R.E., the energy assistance program for low-income elderly or disabled individuals, on July 20, 2004, between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Residents of Marengo and Perry counties can set up an appointment by calling the office at (334) 295-0805, and walk-in appointments will be given.

Project S.H.A.R.E. (Services to Help Alabamians with Relief of Energy) was introduced in 1982 through an agreement between Alabama Power Company and the American Red Cross. Since 1984, Alabama Gas Corp. and 24 other electric cooperatives and municipalities have joined and now participate in the program.

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As the organization responsible for administering Project S.H.A.R.E. funds, the Red Cross interviews applicants seeking financial assistance in paying their cooling bill. For those who qualify, payments will be made directly to the energy supplier.

To qualify for assistance, the family income must be within certain guidelines depending on the size of the household. In addition, the head of the household must meet one of the following eligibility criteria: 1. Be 62 years of age or older; 2. Be receiving a disability check; 3. Have a medically verifiable condition that will be severely aggravated by an energy deficiency.

Each participant can be helped once per cooling season, which runs from July 1, 2004 – Dec. 31, 2004. Beginning on July 20, the local Red Cross office will begin accepting appointments for interviews, which will be held on Wednesdays and Fridays. Medical statement forms can be picked up at 101 E. Coats Ave. in Linden.

Brenda Weaver

A.R.C. of the Black Belt