Heat Fund provided $45,485 of fuel to those in need this winter

BRATTLEBORO — On behalf of some of Windham County's more vulnerable residents, the Windham County Heat Fund thanks our generous community for support of our efforts this year.

We created the Windham County Heat Fund in 2005 to help people in Windham County 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.

Neither of us takes 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.

During this past heating season, the heat fund provided $45,485 worth of fuel to 114 individuals/families. We received a total of $39,359 in donations and because we had a small surplus from the previous year we were able to meet demand.

Local businesses donated $6,850, churches donated $1,555, and $6,500 in grant funding was received.

Our community is extremely generous when it comes to helping those of our less-fortunate friends and neighbors. It makes the work of the Windham County Heat Fund much easier.

We are always accepting donations, and they can be sent to: Richard Davis, 63 Cedar St., Brattleboro, VT 05301 or donations can be made directly at Brattleboro Savings and Loan.

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