INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - A program that will help Indianapolis area families in need heat their homes over the winter kicked off its fund drive Thursday with a ceremony accepting $265,000 from local donors.
Those initial donations put the Winter Assistance Fund within $85,000 of its goal for the year set by the United Way and the city of Indianapolis. Citizens Energy Group donated $100,000; the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, $65,000; Indianapolis Power & Light, $50,000; The Indianapolis Foundation, $30,000, and the James Proctor Fund for Aged Men and Women, $20,000.
"The Winter Assistance Fund is one of Indianapolis' great collaborative traditions supporting our community's needs," Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said in a news release. "I want to express our gratitude to these generous organizations for their phenomenal contributions. All of our successes as a city come from great partnering such as this."
Help with utility bills remains one of the most sought-after needs of callers to Connect2Help's 211 line, said Christie Gillespie, United Way's director of agency services.
"Helping people stay in their homes and warm is not only the humane thing," she said, "it also is a must to avoiding homelessness and its downward spiral."
The Winter Assistance Fund is for Marion County residents whose income exceeds guidelines for government energy assistance yet still have difficulty keeping up with high winter heating bills. Last year, the fund helped 2,373 individuals stay warm.
Residents may dial 211 to find the nearest neighborhood community center or township trustee office accepting Winter Assistance Fund applications.
Customers of Citizens Energy Group and IPL will receive Winter Assistance Fund contribution envelopes in their gas and electric bills, making it easier for individuals to give. Contributions are tax deductible and can also be made online at www.uwci.org/waf , or by mailing a check to: United Way of Central Indiana, Winter Assistance Fund, P.O. Box 660054, Indianapolis, IN, 46266-0054.
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