Like many Georgians, Mary has always worked hard to support herself. Now, at 77, she is still doing everything she can to be self-sufficient. She grows vegetables to stay active and healthy, as well save money on groceries. But despite her hard work, living on her own at her age with a fixed income can be challenging, especially when things are harder economically.
Even though she lives close to most places she goes, rising gas prices have made it difficult for Mary to keep enough gas in her car to even get to the store or her doctor appointments. After a medical procedure with a high co-pay pushed her finances to their breaking point, Mary realized there was no way she would be able to afford to pay her gas bill.
HEAT’s mission is to provide energy assistance
for Georgians in need.
That’s when Mary learned about HEAT, the oldest statewide fuel fund in Georgia. HEAT’s mission is to provide energy assistance for Georgians in need. The non-profit brings together government, business and private donors that combine resources to help with the energy needs of Georgia citizens— influencing the name Heating Energy Assistance Team (HEAT).
Mary’s situation is not uncommon. In Georgia, low-income families spend about 15 percent of their income on home heating, which is five times the percentage spent by the average middle-income family. One in five Georgia households will struggle to pay their heating bills this winter. That’s 20 percent of our neighbors.
HEAT has distributed more than $29 million in energy assistance to nearly 115,000 families since it began in 1983. During the 2021-2022 winter, HEAT provided $641,000 to the Division of Family and Children Services to assist struggling families throughout the state.
Mary was referred to HEAT by her local benefits office. She applied and received the help she needed to see her through a tough time.
“May God bless HEAT’s donors. This help
has been an incredible relief…”
“May God bless HEAT’s donors. This help has been an incredible relief, and I appreciate it more than I can express,” she said.
She wants HEAT’s donors to know their help makes a big difference to needy people like herself. “It feels like there isn’t enough help for seniors and people on fixed incomes, so I’m thankful I found HEAT. And I’m thankful to their donors for their generosity,” she said.
There are not enough energy assistance
funds available to meet the need in Georgia.
Mary knows she’s among the lucky ones. There are not enough energy assistance funds available to meet the need in Georgia. Official estimates are that only a fraction of the potentially eligible households needing energy assistance actually receive it.
You can help
Walton Gas customers can help a neighbor in need by donating to HEAT. Here’s how you can make a tax-deductible donation:
- Call Walton Gas at (770) 427-4328 and ask to have a donation included on your monthly bill. Customer service representatives are available to take your call 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday (except holidays).
- Donate directly by visiting heatga.org/donate.
HEAT helps families in every Georgia county. Eighty cents out of every $1 donated to HEAT goes directly to help struggling families.