Heat Fund sets goal of $50,000 to keep people warm this season

BRATTLEBORO — It's the time of year, when the Windham County Heat Fund reminds all of the generous people in the county that our less fortunate friends and neighbors will need your help once again as we approach another heating season.

The Windham County Heat Fund was created in 2005 by Richard Davis and me to help people in Windham County Vermont who were not able to buy enough heating fuel to make it through the winter. In 2010 the Heat Fund was incorporated as an IRS 501(c)3 nonprofit entity. At the time, oil prices were escalating, and we thought our efforts would only be needed for a year or two.

Over the years, we have come to learn that there is a constant need to supplement state and federal fuel assistance programs for those who fall through the cracks and for those who run out of fuel assistance allotments.

Over the past 16 years, we have raised more than $500,000 from individuals, local businesses, and foundations such as the Thomas Thompson Trust and the Ellen Willard Trust. Our fundraising goal for the 2021–22 heating season is $50,000.

Richard and I do not take any payment for our effort, and we provide postage and office supplies out of our own pockets, for the most part. Most years our administrative expenses are pretty close to $0.00.

We do not give money directly to individuals, but we pay for fuel directly to fuel dealers.

In addition, we try to vet all applications, working with SEVCA and other local human service organizations. Almost all of the staff at fuel dealers know a lot about the lives of their customers, and we rely on them to help us with our mission. They have become an invaluable resource for the heat fund.

We have tried to ask people not to rely on us every year and have asked people to take a year off from applying. But we do look at each application carefully and make decisions based on each individual circumstance. People's lives are complicated, and hard and fast rules do not work most of the time.

Please note that the Heat Fund has a new mailing address. Donations may be sent to Richard Davis, c/o Windham County Heat Fund, 63 Cedar St., Brattleboro, VT 05301 or made directly at Brattleboro Savings and Loan.

Thank you for your continuing support.