Project SHARE lends a hand

Published 9:49 pm Monday, January 5, 2009

The American Red Cross assisted 207 Chilton County families under the Project SHARE program in 2007-2008 for a total of $15,843.

Red Cross director Betty Byrd said she has seen a dramatic increase in the number of families helped in a short period of time.

“It has more than doubled in the past three years,” Byrd said.

The program, which assists low-income elderly or disabled individuals in paying their energy bill, is once again taking applications through the Red Cross. For applicants who qualify, payments are made directly to the energy supplier for electricity, gas, propane, wood, coal or kerosene.

To qualify for assistance, the family income must be within certain guidelines depending on the size of the household. In addition, the head of the household must meet one of the following eligibility criteria:

Sixty-two years of age or older

Receiving a disability check

Applications are taken only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Those applying must bring with them legal ID for all household members, proof of income for all household members, a current bill, and a medical form from the individual’s doctor.

Byrd asks that people call ahead at 755-0707 during the aforementioned hours to schedule an interview.

“Calling ahead might save them a trip,” she said.

Project SHARE (Service to Help Alabamians with Relief on Energy) was introduced in 1982 through an agreement between Alabama Power Company and the American Red Cross. Since 1984, Alabama Gas Corporation and 18 other electric cooperatives and municipalities have joined and now participate in the program.

Project SHARE is funded through the voluntary pledges made by customers of participating energy suppliers.

Assistance is geared toward the need of the client rather than entitlement.

“Please help those in need this winter by donating to Project SHARE through your energy provider,” Byrd said.