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Project Share Donations Down This Year

Last year Marengo County’s alotment for Project SHARE was approximatley $22,000. This year, Emma Thomas, the Marengo Couty Coordinator for Red Cross, knows the need for engergy assistance will be much greater.

“I already have 50 appointments scheduled so far,” Thomas said, for the winter season. “If (a person) qualifies, the maximum amount Project SHARE will pay is $225. “Usually we will pay half and (a partner) agency such at ILEAS, Salvation Army or locl churches will pay half. Sometimes the applicant can pay the other half of their power or gas bill.”

The Black Belt Chapter of the American Red Cross will begin accepting applications on Jan. 5, 2009, for Project SHARE, the Energy assistance program for low income elderly or disabled individuals. Residents of Marengo County can set up an appointment by calling the Project Share office at 334 295-0805 in Linden or Thomas’ cell phone at 334 399-1914.

As the organization responsible for administering Project SHARE funds, a Red Cross representative will interview applicants seeking financial assistance in paying their energy 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 be sixty-two years of age or older, or be receiving a disability check. Thomas said an applicant must provide an ID, a ward letter and the energy bill.

Thomas said the guidelines specify that for a head of household in a one-person family, he can receive income of no more than $1,070 per month. For a two-person household, the maximum income is $1,441 per month and for three people in a household the limit is $1,811 each month. For a family of four the maximum income a household can receive is $2,181 per month.

Project SHARE was introduced in 1982 through an agreement between Alabama Power Company and the American Red Cross. Since 1984, the Alabama Gas Corporation and 24 other electric cooperatives and municipalities have joined the program.

Project SHARE is funded through voluntary pledges made by the customers of various energy suppliers. Thomas said with the economy in a slump the pledges are below last year’s benchmark.