RUTLAND - Citing a shortage of donations and a critical need, Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) recently donated $20,000 in heating aid to community action agencies across Vermont and appealed to customers who can to donate to the CVPS Shareheat campaign.
The $20,000 grant is in addition to $100,000 from CVPS shareholders the company previously put into a pool to match donations from the public.
"With the economy still on the rebound, donations to Shareheat are lagging this winter, but the need remains very high," CVPS President Bob Young said. "We decided to immediately jumpstart the effort by making $4,000 contributions to each of the five community action agencies that participate in Shareheat, and to appeal again to the public. Vermonters are facing heating crises every day, and we want to ensure no one goes cold for lack of funds."
Thanks to the matching pool, contributions from the public are matched dollar for dollar and sent to the community action agency that serves the donor's region of the state. The pool began the season with $100,000 from CVPS shareholders, and $45,000 has been added to it by Shareheat Business Partners, which include People's United Bank, Carris Reels, Passumpsic Savings Bank, Weidman Electrical Technology, and The Vermont Country Store.
"Thanks to these businesses and our shareholders, every donation from the public, up to $145,000 in total, will be doubled," CVPS spokesman Steve Costello said. "A $10 donation will provide $20 in assistance to a neighbor in need. Donations of any size will help."
Businesses that would like to join the Shareheat Business Partnership Program may call Costello at 747-5427 for more information. Anyone needing crisis fuel assistance should contact their local community action agency.
CVPS Shareheat is a program of last resort for over 1,000 Vermont families each year. Funds are available to assist people who face heating emergencies, often because they never expected to need assistance, lost a job, or have exhausted all other available assistance.
"Some people who have donated to Shareheat in the past are now turning to it for assistance themselves," Costello said. "That is reducing donations and increasing the demand on the program. We're asking anyone in a position to do so to make a donation."
Contributions should be made payable to the CVPS Shareheat Fund. Donations may be mailed with a CVPS payment or sent separately to CVPS Shareheat, 77 Grove St., Rutland, VT 05701.