At one point during the recent cold snap, the editor’s house received oil deliveries nine days apart.
While the oil tank was a long way from empty, it was still something of a shock to see how much oil we were going through each day with the temperature below zero.
We are fortunate to not have to worry about how we will pay the oil bill, although it might leave us slightly depressed from time to time. But the incredible speed with which we were going through oil got us wondering: what about those who struggle to fill the oil tank even in mild weather? And what about the organizations that provide heating assistance in our community? Are they overwhelmed?
The volunteers at The Community Energy Fund of Lincoln County appear to have the situation well in hand, which should not surprise anyone.
The Community Energy Fund has fulfilled every request it has received this season, according to co-founder and President Todd Maurer. In addition to its own accounts, the fund has community members it can rely on in a pinch.
“The magic of this is, we have some people who say, ‘Let me know if you need anything – if you need more from us,” Maurer said.
On Monday, Jan. 8, Maurer did not have figures available on how requests this year compare with last year, or with the annual average.
“Right now, the temperature is so cold, we said, ‘Let’s just do what we have to do and look at the statistics later,’” Maurer said.
“Are they up?” he said. “I would have to say yes.”
While the fund still has resources available, the prospect of 40-degree weather is bringing relief to Maurer and his fellow volunteers.
Maurer expects more requests as the season continues and fuel budgets grow thin.
Requests for assistance should go to the general assistance administrator in the town where the requester lives. The G.A. administrator fills out a referral form, which goes to The Community Energy Fund for fulfillment. Administrators may also help those in need find other sources of assistance.
In addition to the requests it receives from G.A. administrators, The Community Energy Fund has eyes and ears throughout the community. In churches, food pantries, and schools, these people know they can refer needs to The Community Energy Fund and see them fulfilled.
The fund always welcomes donations. To help, send a check payable to The Community Energy Fund to P.O. Box 40, Bristol, ME 04539 or drop off a donation at King Eider’s Pub in Damariscotta.
Donors can take comfort in the fact that 100 percent of their money will go to help those in need. Maurer and other volunteers, like Colby & Gale Inc. President Robert Clifford and his staff, administer the program.
The fund is planning a benefit at the Lincoln Theater in March, and expects to announce details soon.
Mail a check if you can afford it, or buy a ticket for the benefit. Your neighbor’s furnace might thank you.