Energizing the Spirit of Giving

December 5, 2014

The holiday season is officially here! It’s a time of celebration, appreciation and also an important time to give back to others.

While we all have much to be thankful for in this great country, poverty and hardship are still a sad part of everyday life for many. And when the holidays hit, and winter approaches, these issues are often brought to the forefront of the conversation. In each and every community there are people who need help, and there are also those who understand that and work very hard to give back. I am constantly inspired by the amazing individuals and non-profit organizations that dedicate themselves fully and completely to help others, especially in our own community. Now is the time of year to not only give back, but also to recognize those who do so on a daily basis.

One of the most inspiring nonprofits I’ve become very familiar with is Operation Fuel, an organization that provides energy assistance to households who are ineligible for the state assistance programs. These amazing people work hard to help thousands of families across the state that would otherwise fall through the cracks – and they deserve some very loud applause.

Many households, often with elderly people on fixed incomes and families with young children, rely on state assistance to help cover their heating costs. The Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) and the Contingency Heating Assistance Program (CHAP) go a long way to help many. However, some others who still need help don’t qualify for these programs. Perhaps they make just a little more than the income level cap. Or maybe their liquid assets exceed certain levels. Or maybe they have already exhausted the state programs for their needs.

That’s when Operation Fuel comes in, helping over 8,000 households annually. The organization began in 1977, when then Governor Ella Grasso, Father Thomas Lynch and community members created a temporary crisis intervention program. Operation Fuel is still here over 30 years later, and continues to care for vulnerable families who would otherwise fall into a gap of no aid.

So how can you find help?

The applications to apply for Winter Heating and Utility Assistance through Operation Fuel opened on December 1. Operation Fuel partners with local government and community based organizations at more than 100 sites throughout Connecticut to offer residents an opportunity to meet with someone in person and apply for assistance. To find a location nearby, check out Operation Fuel’s fuel bank finder on www.operationfuel.org/getting-help/ or call 2-1-1 to find your nearest fuel bank.

If you are a small business, Operation Fuel also provides education and financial assistance to help you learn to be more energy efficient and save money. Known as “Project BEST” Operation Fuel’s small business assistance program offers the following services: personalized assistance from a Small Business Advocate, a credit of $250 on your electric utility bill for completing a first-time commercial energy audit, a credit of $1,000 or more (not to exceed the total cost of your project) toward the cost of installing energy efficiency upgrades at your business. To learn more visit: http://www.operationfuel.org/biz/pb/.

Operation Fuel plays an incredibly important role in our community that touches so many lives. Their spirit of giving energizes others not only literally, but also figuratively. They inspire good, and for that we can all be thankful. For more information about the program, services and how to donate visit www.operationfuel.org or call (860) 243-2345.