On a sweltering day in the Connecticut River Valley it is unlikely that your thoughts are on keeping people warm this winter through donations to the Windsor Community Service Council (WCSC) Fuel Bank, but that doesn't mean the fuel bank isn't as busy as ever.
Thanks to the end of the annual utility moratorium, regulations restricting power companies from shutting of electricity for non-payment, the summer months are the busiest of the year for the fuel bank, and some families need a helping hand to escape the consequences of summer heat waves.
Founded in 1967, WCSC is a non-profit organization of concerned, private volunteer citizens working in partnership with Windsor Social Services. The mission is to make sure no person goes hungry, is cold, or is without basic necessities. One of those necessities is electricity.
During the summer months, many Windsor residents facing financial hardship are in danger of having their electricity shut off. Eligible households are protected against heat and non-heat electrical source shut offs between November 1 and May 1, but come summer time, unless it is a life threatening situation, the electricity can be disconnected.
No electricity means that the fan and the refrigerator can't run, which can become bigger problems: heat exhaustion and spoiled food. Social Services Coordinator Kristen Formanek reports that calls come in "everyday" from Windsor residents in need of assistance. "It is a constant problem," she said, "Between one and six calls come in each day."
Formanek tells the callers to "Come in and make an application." The Windsor Community Service Council Fuel Bank is ready to help people with energy emergencies. Residents in need can apply for a grant of up to $400 through Social Services. People in need can also call Social Services at 860-285-1839 and set up an appointment to apply for the funds; proof of residency is required and there are other eligibility guidelines for the application
“There are no other resources for electricity assistance. Operation Fuel is a private organization that had a brief program but is now closed,” said Formanek. The WCSC relies on donations from individuals, organizations, and businesses to keep the Fuel Bank open. “The number of people requiring assistance has steadily increased since 2008,” Formanek noted.
If you or your organization would like to donate to the WCSC Fuel Bank you can drop a check off to Windsor Social Services, contact Kristen Formanek directly, or mail it to the WCSC. Your donation will bring comfort to someone no matter what the weather.