Heating help at hand

MOUNT DESERT — The MDI Campfire Coalition is accepting applications for heating assistance on Mount Desert Island, Swans Island and the Cranberry Isles.

To qualify, an individual or family must complete an application and provide proof of income. All applications and correspondence are confidential. Completed applications can be faxed, mailed or dropped off at The Harbor House or The Neighborhood House. The program is not intended for emergency fuel and applicants should allow up to a week for their request to be processed prior to receiving benefits.

Applications are available in town offices, libraries, at The Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor and Harbor House in Southwest Harbor. Call The Harbor House at 244-3713 or The Neighborhood House at 276-5039.

The Coalition began in 2008 as a joint collaboration between The Harbor House, The Neighborhood House and the Maine Sea Coast Mission with support from other nonprofits, churches, town government and various community and civic organizations.

The coalition has aided 852 households to date. Many of them had elderly or young children living in the home. Qualifying households receive 100 gallons of fuel or the equivalent in electric, kerosene, propane or wood. The threshold for help is 220 percent of the national poverty level. Many people at this income level are working minimum wage jobs and are ineligible for government benefits. The program does not replace government assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

The coalition is solely dependent upon donations. Every penny received purchases fuel oil or the equivalent in alternate heating sources. There are no administrative costs taken by either The Harbor House or The Neighborhood House for their management of the program. Donations can be sent to MDI Community Campfire Coalition c/o The Neighborhood House, P.O. Box 332, Northeast Harbor, ME 04662. All contributions are fully tax deductible.

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