Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 11-26-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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2 THE VALLEY NOVEMBER 26-DECEMBER 3, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION Next week: Meet the faces of Christmas Our annual Christmas in the Valley section will be hitting newsstands next week, and we're really excited about how it came out. In this year's edition, we've focused on some of the people who have delivered Christmas as we know it to the Blackstone Valley area for many years, giving credit to the faces that make Christmas so special in these parts. Get a full rundown of the events and experiences these volun- teers put on. Christmas in the Valley is one of our two main holiday editions, fol- lowing up on our popular Gift Guide. Our great advertisers make these edi- tions possible, so we hope you'll con- sider shopping with local merchants this year. As you prepare to share Thanksgiving with your family, we want to wish you all peace and bless- ings this holiday season. As always, thank you for reading. - Ethan Shorey Editor, The Valley Breeze PROVIDENCE – The need for occasional help to pay bills isn't lim- ited to people of a certain age or to one community more than another, says Sandi Connors, spokeswoman for United Way of Rhode Island, who's encouraging anyone who thinks they may qualify for heating assistance this year to reach out. United Way of Rhode Island last week announced that the 2019-2020 Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund is now open to eligible Rhode Islanders experiencing financial dif- ficulty and in need of assistance with their heating bills. "It's critical for people to have utili- ties be on," Connors told The Valley Breeze. "It really impacts the whole household's ability to thrive." The fund, administered by United Way, is sponsored by Block Island Utility District, National Grid, Ocean State Power, Pascoag Utility District, Petro Home Services and RISEC LP. Since 1986 it has raised more than $14.6 million and provided heat- ing assistance to 46,000 households in R.I. Across the state last year, 509 households and 1,260 people received help, Connors said. Individuals and families in need of energy assistance are encouraged to visit their local Community Action Program agency, which receives funding from United Way and pays utility bills directly. Renters and homeowners are eligible. "It's a good program for people who are struggling to get a bill paid and need to make sure to continue heating their home," Connors said. Household eligibility is based on total household income not exceed- ing 300 percent of the federal pov- erty level, states a press release. For example, a household of four is eligible if its annual income does not exceed $77,250 while a household of six cannot exceed $103,770. Grants to households are determined by fuel type and need and will not exceed $650 per heating season. Cortney Nicolato, president and CEO of United Way of Rhode Island, said that Rhode Islanders should dial 2-1-1, United Way's 24-hour call center, if they're looking for more information about the fund or need help identifying their local CAP agency. "With temperatures starting to drop, we want those in financial difficulty to know that the Good Neighbor Energy Fund is a great community resource and we're here to help," she said in a statement. "If people even wonder if they're eligible, they should call 2-1-1," Connors said. "It can be very difficult to ask for help, particularly if you've never had to ask for help in the past. … Just call. That's what the money is here for." Local CAP agencies, according to information provided by United Way, are as follows: • Community Care Alliance, 55 Main St. in Woonsocket, serves residents in Woonsocket and North Smithfield. Call 401-235-7000. • Blackstone Valley CAP, 32 Goff Ave. in Pawtucket, serves residents in Cumberland, Lincoln, Pawtucket, and Central Falls. Call 401-723-4520. • Tri-Town Community Action, 1126 Hartford Ave. in Johnston, serves residents in North Providence, North Smithfield, Smithfield, Glocester, Johnston, and Burrillville. Call 401-351-2750. • Comprehensive CAP, 311 Doric Ave. in Cranston, serves residents in Foster, Scituate, Coventry, and Cranston. Call 401-467-9610. Tri-County gave out 200 grants last year, Connors said. She didn't have numbers for Blackstone Valley CAP. The fund is earmarked for families and individuals who are in a one-time or temporary crisis, Connors said. Someone who can't pay their utility bills because of a recent job loss or a healthcare issue may be eligible to receive assistance. Those who need assistance can be any age from any community, she said. Connors said the 2-1-1 call center receives about 180,000 calls a year from Rhode Islanders looking for help. Families are making difficult decisions between paying for food, utilities, and medications, she said. "It's definitely a problem in Rhode Island," she said. Anyone can donate to the Good Neighbor Energy Fund's Warm Thy Neighbor fundraising campaign via the yellow donation envelopes that are enclosed with energy bills through the end of February. People can also text WARM to 91999 on their mobile phone, send a check payable to "Good Neighbor Energy Fund" to Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund, c/o United Way of Rhode Island, 50 Valley St., Providence, RI 02909-2459 or visit . "The generosity of Rhode Islanders to this program has been very con- sistent," Connors said. "I think New Englanders understand what it is to be cold and understand what it is to be in a temporary crisis. … People want to help their neighbors." Heating assistance available for Rhode Islanders this winter By MELANIE THIBEAULT Valley Breeze Staff Writer Take the next big step in joint replacement. Step 1: Get a joint replacement procedure. Step 2: Go home the same day. Introducing same-day joint replacement procedures that help patients recover from the comfort of home with no overnight hospital stay, thanks to the partnership between Ortho Rhode Island's first-class orthopedic surgeons and state-of-the-art technology at the South County Health Orthopedics Center. Learn more at or call for an appointment: 401.777.7000 Partners in Orthopedic Innovation +

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