Coping with cold weather is extremely hard if you are homeless. It’s equally as difficult if you are a low-income family.
When Shelly contacted The Salvation Army she had no heat in her home. As temperatures dropped Shelly and her diabetic husband, who lived from paycheque to paycheque on a fixed income, were forced to choose between paying for his insulin and increased heating costs. Insulin kept Shelly’s husband’s sugar at normal levels, protecting organs from damage. No insulin would leave him extremely ill. They paid for the insulin.
“Before long our oil tank was completely dry, meaning no heat or hot water,” said Shelly. “The house was so cold that a glass of water left on the counter turned to slush.”
Furthermore, water inside Shelly’s washing machine and toilet began to freeze, everyone in the house was wearing layers of clothes, and all the blankets were used to protect her shivering children.
“I was desperate for help,” said Shelly.
Shelly’s family is one of hundreds who will benefit this winter from Salvation Army-run energy assistance programs.
For example, in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island low-income seniors and families will get the help they need to stay warm in their home through The Salvation Army’s Good Neighbour Energy Fund.
The Salvation Army and Nova Scotia Power work together so those battling hardship or personal crisis have financial help to keep the heat on.
Karen Mallett, with the Summerside PEI Salvation Army, said the need this year appears to be greater than in the past. Days before the Summerside location took applications, Mallett received a dozen calls a day inquiring about the program.
And in Manitoba The Salvation Army, with support from Manitoba Hydro, has expanded its Neighbours Helping Neighbours program to reach out to all residents of Manitoba.
“I had nowhere else to turn when I called The Salvation Army,” says Karen, who lives in Manitoba. “The financial help I received to heat my home made it possible for me to keep going. I recently secured a casual position and my dire financial situation is turning around.”
Every year tens of thousands of Canadians face tough choices as they struggle with day-to-day hardships. When you donate to The Salvation Army you are giving someone in need a dramatic change in circumstance.