Imagine having to choose between eating and staying warm, between filling prescriptions and paying heating bills. Each winter, thousands of Americans face exactly these choices.
The compromises they must make can have dire results. Each year's bitter cold spells bring reports of individuals freezing to death in their homes, of faulty space heaters igniting fires that destroy residences, and of improperly ventilated stoves or heaters causing individuals to sicken or die from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Many of the nation's nonprofits are working to prevent such tragedies. Some offer financial assistance to those struggling to pay for utilities. Others help people weatherize their homes and thus lower their heating bills. Some assist anyone in need. Others provide utilities assistance as part of an overall effort to prevent homelessness. Still others reach out to specific audiences:
- African refugees
- American Muslims
- Cancer patients
- Cystic Fibrosis patients and their families
- Families with children
- Individuals with disabilities or special needs
- Individuals with the HIV virus or AIDS
- The homebound
- Homeless women and children
- Indian reservation children
- Lakota Sioux people
- Migrant farm workers
- Prisoners' families
- Senior citizens
- Social Security Income or Disability recipients
Together, the nation's nonprofits strive to ensure that the warmth of the season reaches all of our neighbors.
This article was based on information in the GuideStar database.