As Texomans gear up for the winter season families in need are seeking heating assistance from various programs. An additional struggle for these families is that some of those federally funded programs are seeing their own funding slashed. Newschannel 6 spoke with Interfaith Ministries, a local agency in the Falls. They plan on stepping in and helping even more families.
Jean Payne, Executive Director at Interfaith Ministries tells us on Tuesday she received two phone calls of families needing assistance with their utility bills. Payne says she does expect those numbers to go up.
As temperatures start to drop, running heaters to stay warm might just be more money then some families can handle. Payne comments, "It just sets up this chain of events that is so difficult to over come when you're living from paycheck to paycheck."
Turning to local agencies might be their only hope to survive in a time when their options are limited. Payne says, "If there is a government program that is being cut then everybody and all agencies that help people in town are going to see an increase."
And for Interfaith Ministries they are already seeing those increases. Clients need help with their bills. Payne says in a rough economy they are seeing more working families come through their doors and in some cases it is more difficult for them to reach out. "A lot of times they are frustrated and humiliated to ask for help, but we are a faith based organization and God says take care of your neighbors."
And for non-profit agencies like Interfaith Ministries who rely solely on community donations to stay open and help others. They hope the community continues to stay supportive. Payne comments, "I hope they think about how they've been blessed in their lives. If they have a job and have everything they need, heat in their home, and food on their table. Think about those who are struggling and to generous. Especially this time of year."
Jean Payne tells us Interfaith Ministries will work with all clients to either pay some or all of their bills. Payne recommends clients should ask for help before their electricity gets shut off.
Interfaith Ministries provides a number of resources at their facility to get people in need back on their feet. Besides assisting with bills they also have a food pantry.