The Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund (GNEF) announces that its 33rd annual “Warm Thy Neighbor” campaign, which helps Rhode Island households in financial difficulty with the payment of their energy expenses, is now underway. The United Way of Rhode Island, the administrator of the Fund, has received seed money from the Fund’s sponsoring energy companies – National Grid, Ocean State Power, Pascoag Utility District, Petro Home Services and RISEC LP – so that eligible households can receive assistance immediately. The Good Neighbor Energy Fund’s 2018-2019 campaign goal is to raise $350,000 and help more than 750 households.
In addition to the sponsoring energy companies, the Good Neighbor Energy Fund campaign relies on the generosity of individuals, families, local corporations and community organizations for support. Yellow donation envelopes are enclosed with energy bills through February. Those interested in donating to the Fund can text “WARM” to 91999 on their mobile phone, send a check payable to “Good Neighbor Energy Fund” to United Way of Rhode Island, 50 Valley Street, Providence, RI 02909 or visit www.rhodeislandgoodneighbor.org.
“With the arrival of colder temperatures we can expect to see more of our neighbors in financial difficulty this winter season and in need of energy assistance,” said Suzanne Melo, Chairperson of the 2018-19 Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund campaign and Vice President of Operations – New England for Petro Home Services/Star Group L.P. “Let’s once again make a cooperative effort to exceed our fundraising goal and provide warmth to all the households who are eligible throughout the state.”
United Way of Rhode Island encourages those households in need of energy assistance to visit their local Community Action Program (CAP) agency to determine household eligibility for the Fund which is based on total household income not exceeding 300 percent of the federal poverty level. For example, a household of four is eligible for the Fund if its annual income does not exceed $75,300 while a household of six cannot exceed $101,220. Grants to individual households are determined by fuel type and need and will not exceed $650 per heating season.
“Like all our programs here, the Good Neighbor Energy Fund helps families and individuals succeed,” said Cortney Nicolato, President and CEO, United Way of Rhode Island. “We believe that people want to do the best they can for themselves and their families, but sometimes they need a little help.” Nicolato added that anyone who thinks they may be eligible for energy assistance through the Fund can also call the United Way 2-1-1 contact center which is free and available to Rhode Islanders 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
Since its establishment in 1986, the Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund has raised over $14.2 million and helped over 45,500 families in need of temporary energy assistance. For more information about the Good Neighbor Energy Fund or how to receive assistance, contact either the United Way 2-1-1 in Rhode Island help line or a local Community Action Program (CAP) agency.