ELLSWORTH — Downeast Community Partners’ THAW fund, which provides oil, gas and wood pellets to households that cannot receive heating assistance through other programs, is falling critically short of the funding needed to meet requests this year.
The THAW fund serves Washington and Hancock counties and is funded solely by donations.
Currently, the THAW fund has $25,452 to help area residents from now until spring. DCP anticipates that the fund needs an additional $100,000 to meet the need this winter.
The program, which has not been fully funded since 2014, has seen a 200 percent increase in requests compared to the same time last year. Once the fund runs out of money, families and older adults are turned away.
Last heating season, 356 homes were heated using community–donated THAW funds. Another 3,250 homes were kept warm using the federally funded Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). The HEAP program assists low-income residents based on federal income guidelines, but there are many Mainers who do not qualify but can’t afford to pay their heating bills. According to DCP, most people who need assistance are seniors and underemployed families working but not earning enough.
Since September, 1,389 people have applied through the organization for HEAP benefits and 62 people have been approved under the THAW program
“DCP can only help as many people as we receive donations,” according to a statement from the organization. “The program has run out of funding months before the cold season ended. This means turning people away. DCP hopes to gain your partnership in ensuring everyone is warm.”
If you are in need, call 664-2424 Monday-Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. to learn more.
For fundraising ideas for your school, church, or friends, contact the communications department at 610-5910.
Visit DCP’s website to learn more or make a donation, go to downeastcommunitypartners.org, call 664-2424 or email [email protected]