Friend to Friend Utility Assistance

Help Struggling Families Avoid Losing Heat During This Brutal Winter by Giving to the Friend to Friend Utility Assistance Fund

Each year, frigid temperatures throughout the Heart of Indiana region produce large utility bills for residents.

 This past week’s extreme below-freezing temperatures will produce even larger utility bills than normal. Thousands of local families will struggle to cover the cost of those bills and may face the possibility of utility disconnection and the resulting loss of heat during the remaining coldest weeks and months ahead. Heart of Indiana United Way’s Friend to Friend Utility Assistance Fund provides help to struggling local families at risk of not being able to heat their homes because they cannot afford their utilities.

Heart of Indiana United Way is again partnering with other community partners to provide support through the Friend to Friend Utility assistance fund. The fund began in 2001 and has helped thousands of residents throughout its existence. The fund serves Heart of Indiana’s full 5-county area, assisting families in Delaware, Henry, Madison, Fayette and Randolph counties. Ongoing financial support for the fund is needed from the community to meet this year’s anticipated need. 100% of donations collected for this fund will help qualified residents in Delaware, Madison, Henry, Randolph and Fayette Counties to reduce their utility bills during the coldest winter months.

“Last week, we experienced several days of subzero temperatures – double-digit when you consider the windchill factor. Unfortunately, that will not be the last bitter temperatures we see. The need for utility assistance is great—as it is every year, but even more so this year due to last week. Many families may face the possibility of disconnection,” said Jenni Marsh, president and CEO of Heart of Indiana United Way. “By giving to our Friend to Friend program, people and businesses help families stay warm safely, rather than give them no choice but to turn to unsafe heating sources. ”

Families may be protected from having utilities  disconnected between  December 1 and March 15  by Indiana law. However,  residents are still responsible for heating costs that accumulate during that period. On March 15, when temperatures may still be low, at-risk residents could face utility disconnection if they are unable to pay their existing utility bill.

Funds raised for the Friend to Friend Utility Assistance Fund are distributed to several local organizations so they can provide direct assistance to those who need it. Individuals can find available assistance by calling 2-1-1.

People wishing to contribute to the fund may direct their donations to the “Friend to Friend Utility Assistance Fund,” c/o Heart of Indiana United Way, P. O. Box 968, Muncie, IN 47308. Online contributions can be made at www.heartofindiana.org/gi eheat. Or text GIVEHEAT to 91999 to donate by text. All contributions are tax deductible.