DULUTH – The Salvation Army has infused an additional $100,000 into its HeatShare program to help with the skyrocketing cost of propane throughout the state of Minnesota and Fargo and Grand Forks N.D.
The extreme cold and the steep increase in propane cost have put low-income residents in dire circumstances.
Requests for aide from The Salvation Army HeatShare fund have increased, threatening to drain its reserves.
"There aren't other options for people who depend on propane to heat their homes," said Lt. Colonel Robert Thomson, Salvation Army Divisional Commander of Minnesota and North Dakota. "The facts are heating bills are going from $200 a month to $900; It would strain even a middle class family's budget."
The Salvation Army's HeatShare program targets seniors, those with disabilities and need due to crisis situations.
"We are especially concerned with seniors on fixed incomes," Thomson said. "They are often the population that is the last to ask for help. It breaks our hearts to think of our senior population struggling to stay warm in these dangerous temperatures. We pray that these weather conditions moderate or we will run out of funding well before the crisis is over."
The additional $100,000 is being distributed to Salvation Army centers in Brainerd, Duluth, Cloquet, Fergus Falls, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, International Falls, Virginia, Willmar, and Fargo and Grand Forks N.D.
Major Bill Cox, Commander of Salvation Army-Duluth, said, "We've seen a significant increase in requests for heating assistance. The sharp increase in fuel costs has been an additional strain, and in many cases time is of the essence. Our local support for HeatShare has been great in the past, and we trust that our long-time friends and some new partners will help us to meet this need."
HeatShare is a Salvation Army program that provides emergency utility assistance for people with no place left to turn.
Funds are used to pay for energy costs for seniors, disabled and families in crisis.
The program has been active since 1982 and helped 4200 families in Minnesota last year with $1 million in assistance.
HeatShare is offered at The Salvation Army operation centers in Minnesota.
To learn about HeatShare and The Salvation Army go to www.heatshare.org.
HeatShare funds are needed to help meet the increased demand.
Give online at Heatshare.org or send a check for HeatShare to your local Salvation Army.