Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Cumberland Lincoln 11-27-2019

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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CUMBERLAND LINCOLN EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | NOVEMBER 27-DECEMBER 4, 2019 THE VALLEY 21 PROVIDENCE – The need for occasional help to pay bills isn't limited 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 quali- fy for heating assistance this year to reach out. United Way of Rhode Island earlier this month announced that the 2019-2020 Rhode Island Good Neighbor Energy Fund is now open to eligible Rhode Islanders expe- riencing financial difficulty and in need of assistance with their heat- ing bills. "It's critical for people to have utilities 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 pro- vided heating 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 encour- aged to visit their local Community Action Program agency, which receives funding from United Way and pays utility bills directly. Renters and homeowners are eli- gible. "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 eligi- bility is based on total household income not exceed- ing 300 percent of the federal poverty level, states a press release. For exam- ple, 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 look- ing 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 dif- ficult 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. The fund is earmarked for fami- lies 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 www.rhodeislandgood- neighbor.org . "The generosity of Rhode Islanders to this program has been very consistent," Connors said. "I think New Englanders understand what it is to be cold and under- stand what it is to be in a tempo- rary crisis. … People want to help their neighbors." Heating assistance available for Rhode Islanders this winter By MELANIE THIBEAULT Valley Breeze Staff Writer melanie@valleybreeze.com CONNORS Dickens Carolers at Four Corners Community Chapel Sunday CUMBERLAND – Start the holiday season with a free con- cert by the Very Merry Dickens Carolers this Sunday, Dec. 1, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Four Corners Community Chapel, 200 Angell Road. "We love kicking off the holiday season with this annual concert," said Louise Tetreault, lead caroler and CEO. "We know how busy this season can get and we think it's important to take a little bit of time to pause and take in the some of the joy the season brings." The Very Merry Dickens Carolers perform in four-part a cappella har- mony with arrangements as diverse as jazz, swing, traditional, and doo-wop. The company performs throughout New England. Attendees are asked to make a cash donation or give a non- perishable food items to benefit the Northern Rhode Island Food Pantry. For more information, call 401-692-0807. CHS will host open house CUMBERLAND – Cumberland High School will host an open house event for prospective stu- dents and their parents and guard- ians next Thursday, Dec. 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. Find out more about the school and learn about the classes and pathways it offers, as well as student-run clubs, athletics, arts and more. Helping Hands Club's coat drive distribution is Friday CUMBERLAND – Cumberland High School's Helping Hands Club's annual coat drive distribu- tion is on Friday, Nov. 29, from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at St. Patrick's Church, 301 Broad St., and the Boys & Girls Club in Cumberland, 1 James J McKee Way. Those in need can take home coats for themselves and their fami- lies for the winter. Hanukkah story time registrations Monday CUMBERLAND – Registration for Hanukkah story time at the Cumberland Public Library, 1464 Diamond Hill Road, begins online on Monday, Dec. 2, at 10 a.m. The event, for children ages 3-12 and their families, will take place on Monday, Dec. 16, from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Children's Room where there will be a special guest. Participants will listen to a story, make a craft, learn to play dreidel, eat latkes and see a lighted menorah. Register each child individually at www.cumberlandlibrary.org . Registration is required, space is limited. Contact the Cumberland Library at 401-333-2552, ext. 3, visit www. cumberlandlibrary.org or email read@cumberlandlibrary.org . Robert D. Oster, Esq. & Sarah Oster Kelly, Esq. Rhode Island does not have a procedure for certification or recognition of specialization by lawyers. 640 George Washington Hwy. Building B, Suite 103, P.O. Box 22003 Lincoln, RI 02865 ~ Free Consultations ~ ATTORNEYS AND COUNSELORS AT LAW 724-2400 Website: OsterLawOffices.com OSTER law offices TRUSTED FOR THREE GENERATIONS Happy Thanksgiving from Our Family to Yours!

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