SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- This winter's intense cold has had a lot of people seeking help to heat their homes. The New England Farm Workers' Council distributes a limited amount of fuel assistance. But many people are finding that the one delivery from the organization is not enough.
Our frigid weather has fuel assistance programs struggling to keep up with the demand for heat. New England Farm Workers’ Council told 22News that this season has been extremely tough. Emergency program coordinator Lisa Gilhooly said, ” It’s miserable. our clients are desperate. Our top benefit level this year was $950, is $950. That’s not enough for a tank of oil. Oil is almost $4 a gallon.”
At the minimum benefit level, New England Farm Workers’ Council can provides 100 gallons of oil. But that could be gone in a week! Shortage of staff, long waiting lists, and lack of funding has made this winter difficult for organizations providing fuel assistance.
The Council of Churches helps people who’ve already used up their farm worker’s council assistance. But they’re already out of money. Fuel Assistance Director Ivy McDonald told 22News they understand what people are going through this winter. ” We understand. We understand that people need this but we are privately so we’re hoping that companies see it so that way they can help us help people.”
The Council of Churches is not taking anymore applications. And it is a 6 to 8 week wait for New England Farm Workers’ Council applications.
Both organizations need donations in order to help people still needing fuel assistance. If you need to put in an application for fuel assistance as a first time recipient with New England Farm Workers’ Council visit partnersforcommunity.org You can also call the organization at (413) 272-2209. Applications are based on income, household size, and type of fuel assistance needed.
Council for Churches is not accepting anymore applications. If you’ve already submitted an application, you must make an appointment at (413) 733-2149 to have your information reviewed.