Assistance project helps disabled, elderly with energy costs

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 31, 2007

LINDEN &045; As the weather gets cooler and the electric meter continues goes up, many Marengo County citizens find it hard to keep up with energy costs for a number of reasons. But one project aimed at this never-ending battle may help some disabled and elderly people get a breather.

The Marengo Black Belt Chapter of the American Red Cross announced last week they would begin accepting applications for Project SHARE, a twice yearly program meant to give assistance to low income, elderly or disabled people who were unable to pay for energy costs.

According to Emma Thomas, director of the local chapter, this project is very important for the area they serve.

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One of the main benefits is to help the applicants catch up on some outstanding bills while helping to supply them with heat through the winter months. The program goes through another cycle of applications and funding in July, which provides cooling costs to the elderly and disabled.

Applicants for the program must meet certain qualifications, including: family income within certain guidelines depending on the size of the household and the head of the household must be either 62 years old or older or receive a disability check.

From this pool of applicants, Red Cross representatives interview applicants and determine whose needs they can meet.

The project, which stands for Service to Help Alabamians with Relief on Energy, was begun in 1982 through an agreement between Alabama Power Company and the American Red Cross. Since 1984, Alabama Gas Company and 24 other electric cooperatives and municipalities have joined and now participate in the program.

Funds for the program come from voluntary pledges made by the customers of these energy companies.

For more information on Project SHARE call the American Red Cross office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 334-295-0805.