United Way
of Massachusetts Bay
and Merrimack Valley

January 7, 2016

National Grid Foundation Helps Keep the Heat On

National Grid Foundation Presents $130,000 for United Way Heating Assistance Programs in Boston, Lynn, Lawrence, and Quincy

Winter may be easing its way into New England this year with recent mild weather outside, but for families who can’t turn on the heat, it is brutally cold inside.

United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and the National Grid Foundation celebrated that United Way will receive a grant of $130,000 to help local families with heating assistance this winter. The funds are distributed through United Way’s Family Fund, which helps struggling families across Eastern Massachusetts make ends meet by assisting with basic needs such as heating, food, and housing.  This year’s grant brings the total amount of National Grid Foundation’s support to more than $1.2 million over 11 years, helping more than 12,000 local families with heating assistance in that time.

The announcement was made at Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) in Boston, one of several local agencies which will receive funding from the grant to help local families with heating assistance.   Sonya Huggins, an ABCD client who received fuel assistance as a result of this funding last year, shared a moving story of her struggle to heat her home and keep her children warm for several winters, after an illness caused a major financial setback.

“We did what we had to do to stay warm – wearing all our clothes, pretending our house was an igloo, cooking in the fireplace. When I finally called ABCD and they said they could help, I could have jumped through the phone to hug them.”

“We may have had a relatively mild winter so far, but for many families who struggle to heat their homes, any cold is deeply chilling,” said Michael Durkin, President of United Way Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley.  “The steadfast support from the National Grid Foundation shows a true committment to working families and will have a real impact on many lives this winter.”

Bob Keller, President of the National Grid Foundation, presents the check to United Way and partners

Bob Keller presents the check to United Way and partners.

“United Way’s emergency assistance program plays an essential role by providing fuel neutral assistance to the neediest members of our community. National Grid Foundation is proud to lend a ‘warm helping hand’ to our neighbors so they don’t have to choose between buying food and staying warm,” said Bob Keller, President, National Grid Foundation.

 

ABCD manages the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in Boston, Brookline and Newton and this year in seven communities north of Boston including Malden, Medford, Everett, Melrose, Stoneham, Winchester and Woburn. ABCD fuel assistance directors anticipate serving more than 26,000 households this winter.  ABCD will receive $35,000 from the Family Fund and the National Grid Foundation Grant to support their heating assistance program.

“We are grateful for the support from United Way and the National Grid Foundation as we continue to offer this life-saving assistance,” said John J. Drew, ABCD President/CEO. “Funds are desperately needed in this bitter January weather so that oil trucks can roll and make deliveries to the thousands of low-income households where residents are forced to choose between food, rent, medication and heat.”

The National Grid Foundation grant will benefit families in 5 communities through the following agencies:

  • Action for Boston Community Development
  • Catholic Charities of Greater Boston
  • Greater Lawrence Community Action
  • Lynn Economic Opportunity
  • Quincy Community Action Programs

The Family Fund provides an immediate response to families in financial crisis, investing in 25 community-based agencies across its service area to:

  • Expand the availability of emergency basic needs (heat, shelter, and food) assistance;
  • Build the capacity of partner agencies to provide these services; and
  • Provide seamless access to additional services through United Way’s Mass211 helpline.

 ***Families in need of heating assistance should call Mass211 helpline (dial 211) to be directed to their closest community resource.***

To help families like Sonya’s keep the heat on this winter, DONATE  to support United Way’s Family Fund.