Call for donations to keep heat on for needy this winter

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund is calling for donations for its 30th annual “Warm Thy Neighbor” campaign, which helps households pay energy bills during times of temporary crisis.

The fund, established in 1986, is hoping to raise $500,000 this season and help 1,250 households.

This year, the United Way is taking over administration of the fund from the Salvation Army. Fund officials said Monday the change will save a step in connecting people to state Community Action Programs (CAPs), which determine eligibility for the fund.

If you wish to donate, use a yellow donation envelope included in your utility bill or send a check payable to the “Good Neighbor Energy Fund” to United Way of Rhode Island, 50 Valley Street, Providence, RI, 02909.

Online donations can be made starting November 12 at http://rhodeislandgoodneighbor.org/.

If you or someone you know needs help paying energy bills, you’re encouraged to call 2-1-1 or go to the website http://www.211ri.org/ to get help in applying.

Last year, the United Way’s 2-1-1 telephone hotline handled 40,000 requests for help with utilities. The service is free and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Major Wendy Kountz, the state coordinator for the Salvation Army in Rhode Island, said her organization was proud of its help in the past, and will refer those needing energy assistance to the fund.

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