Sun Shine: WCAC program helps thousands in need stay warm

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It was a harsh winter day and the bitter cold forced the bundled-up man to leave what relative comfort his frigid rural home offered him in order to seek shelter in his garage, where he burned some old furniture and other junk to stay warm.

The man’s effort to stave off the deathly perils of a frigid New England day highlight the plight of a countless number of individuals and families on limited incomes who have difficulty scraping together enough money for fuel to heat their homes.

Many of these poverty-stricken households include young children and elders, and, very often, tough choices are made.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Mark Henderson / Worcester Sun

Customer service representative Beverly Jones, left, assists a client of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program recertify his eligibility for this year’s program.

Instead of food or needed medicines, what little money is available is used to pay the heating bill. Sometimes, coveted fuel allocations are stretched to the limits and household thermostats are set dangerously low for a good portion of the day.

Some use space heaters that don’t meet fire codes.

“It’s hard to believe how many people still need help in order to stay warm during the winter,” said Ellen Ganley, director of development at Worcester Community Action Council Inc.

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