Rochester, NY--Recent health complications put Cathy O'Brien out of work and in a world on debt. But, her heating bill is becoming bearable thanks to the Greater Rochester Chapter of the American Red Cross.
"The Red Cross came to my rescue and I have to say rescue because that's exactly what they did,"explained O'Brien.
O'Brien is one of more than 500 in our region benefiting from the Red Cross heating fund, a program run entirely on donations.
"Without them, I don't know what I would have done."
O'Brien qualifies for the match assistance program. So, she'll pay a portion of her RG&E bill and than bring a copy of her receipt to the Prince Street offices where they'll pay an equal amount.
"That solved my problem as far as them not shutting of my electricity," said O'Brien.
According to case manager Marjorie Beldue, the program assists low income households who fall under certain income guidelines.
A good candidate must have also received a shut off notice. Ultimately, applicantions are analyzed on an individual basis.
"When people call us, we will get the information from them and establish if they qualify because it's dependent on how many people are in the household and changes with each additional person in the household," Beldue explained.
The Red Cross will provide up to $600 in grants, and in addition, they offer $400 in matching funds. In other words, if you pay $50.00 on a $100 bill, the Red Cross will match it, leaving you without a balance.
The goal is to get people independent again.
"You give a person a fish, they'll eat today but if you teach them how to fish they'll be able to eat for a life time. So, that's our logic is to help them and empower them to be successful from here on in."
"You look and you search for programs and than you really look into them they're not really there for you," said O'Brien. "However, the Red Cross was there for me."
To apply, call 585-241-4474.