The Windham County Heat Fund – The Need Continues After 19 Years

If you live in the Northeast chances are pretty good you have been using oil, propane or wood to heat your home for a few weeks. There are some people that set a date for turning on their furnace and they suffer through until then, partly as a matter of principle and partly because of the cost of fuel.

Then there are those among us, a growing number, who struggle to heat their homes. They rely on federal and state fuel assistance programs which do not start until late November. The politics of that have always troubled me and politicians say they understand the timing is not realistic, but the allocation doesn’t happen until well after the need for heat starts.

This is where the Windham County Heat Fund comes in. We try to have a reserve of funds at the start of the heating season so we can fill that gap for people who rely on government fuel assistance to keep warm. Our busiest times are now until late November and near the end of the heating season when people have used up their fuel assistance allocations.

An Open Letter To Our Vermont Senator and Senator-Elect

I am sending the following letter to Senator Sanders. A similar letter will be sent to Senator-Elect Welch. If they receive more letters it might help push the issue.

Dear Senator Sanders,

I am writing to you because fuel prices are so high that it will become a life and death matter this winter. I know you are well aware of this problem, but I am hoping that there is something more that can be done by the United States to at least bring prices down a little. It is clearly a very complicated issue.

In 2005 you attended the first fund raising event that the newly created Windham County Heat Fund held. Daryl Pillsbury and I started the fund with the expectation that it would be a short-term endeavor because fuel prices spiked back then.

Windham County Heat Fund Update

It’s the time of year again when the Windham County Heat Fund reminds all of the generous people in the county that our less fortunate friends and neighbors will need your help once again as we approach another heating season.

The Windham County Heat Fund was created in 2005 by Richard Davis and me to help people in Windham County Vermont who were not able to buy enough heating fuel to make it through the winter. In 2010 the Heat Fund was incorporated as an IRS 501 C 3 non-profit entity. At the time, oil prices were escalating and we thought our efforts would only be needed for a year or two.

Windham County Heat Fund Update

Daryl Pillsbury and I feel an obligation to the community to provide a report of how we spent the money that has been donated to the Windham County Heat. Accountability and transparency is important, even for a small local non-profit organization.
When we started the fund in 2005 we thought the problem we were helping to alleviate was the high price of home heating fuel.

We quickly learned that affordability of heating fuel has very little to do with the price of oil, kerosene or propane. It is about social and economic justice.

We live in a very unequal society and the gap between the haves and the have nots has only increased over the years. Although the Heat Fund is about providing a little fuel for people in need it is really about making the lives of the more vulnerable around us a little easier. Almost all of the people who apply to us are making efforts to support themselves, but they experience an unexpected setback or find that the money they set aside for fuel this year is just not going to be enough.

Heat Fund Thank You

On behalf of some of Windham County’s more vulnerable citizens the Windham County Heat Fund would like to thank all of the generous people who donated to the heat fund this year. We raised $27,020 and gave out $28,770. We carried over a small surplus from the previous year.

The fund received $8690 in local corporate and church donations from the Brattleboro Elks, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, the Brattleboro Sunrise Rotary, Clear Solutions, Broad Brook Grange, American Postal Workers Union 3535, First United Methodist Church and the Insight Center. They are all perennial supporters of the heat fund, as is iBrattleboro who provides free advertising during the heating season. We could not do our work without them.

Heating It Up With Ladies of the Rainbow March 2

Windham County Heat Fund Fundraiser – Heating it up with the Ladies of the Rainbow

“Heating it up with the Ladies of the Rainbow” on Saturday, March 2 at 8:00 p.m. at the VFW on Black Mountain Road in Brattleboro will be this year’s major fundraiser for the Windham County Heat Fund.

In 2005 Daryl Pillsbury and Richard Davis decided to find a way to help people struggling to pay for home heating fuel who were not eligible for existing programs. They simply decided to raise money and then figure out who was in need and help those people.