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Project SHARE offers help with heating bills

The Covington County chapter of the American Red Cross will distribute more than $13,000 in winter heating assistance in the coming months.

The funding is made possible through Project SHARE (Service to Help Alabamians with Relief on Energy), the energy assistance program for low-income elderly or disabled individuals, said Jeffery Biggs, the chapter’s executive director.

“This program is a vital link for many of our elderly and disabled residents to assist them with their utility bills,” Biggs said. “During the winter months — especially considering how up and down the temperatures have been this season — Project SHARE provides a lifeline so residents don’t have to worry about making a decision between paying for food and medicine or staying warm.”

Biggs said that unlike during the summer months when the Project SHARE program is operational for cooling, a statement of medical need is not required for heating assistance.

“However, one has to meet the qualifications for assistance,” he said.

To qualify, the family income must be within certain guidelines, depending on the size of the household, and additionally, the head of the household must meet one of the following eligibility criteria:

62 years of age, or older.

Receive a disability check (not in the process of applying and be head of household).

Applications for assistance will be accepted beginning Jan. 5, 2009, with appointments being scheduled for Jan. 13, 15, 20 and 22.

“Also, if a person is unable to come in person, we have third party verification forms so a family member, friend, or neighbor can come instead of the applicant,” he said.

Project SHARE was introduced in 1982 through an agreement between Alabama Power Company and the American Red Cross and is funded through the voluntary pledges made by customers of participating energy suppliers.

Assistance is geared toward the need of the client rather than entitlement. Please help those in need this winter by donating to Project SHARE through your energy provider.

For additional information, please contact the Covington County Red Cross at 334-428-2680.