By Marianne Sullivan
Hundreds of Madison residents are at risk of not being able to heat their homes this winter and The Madison Foundation plans to do something about that. On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the foundation will kick off a special $10,000 challenge, promising to match dollar-for-dollar donations to the Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) Fuel Fund.
Nancy Gerson, president of the foundation, sets out the challenge: “Donate to the N2N Fuel Fund now and we will double each donation, up to $10,000, through the month of February.” (See Gerson’s letter in Letters to the Editor.)
Why the critical need this winter? The federal government has cut its home energy assistance program by 50 percent this year. In Madison, this means the loss of $73,000 in fuel assistance to households. Aware of the growing need for fuel assistance in the face of dwindling federal dollars, Wendy Larson and David Melillo of Youth & Family Services and Heater Castrilli of Senior Services presented their concerns-and the hard facts and numbers-to the Board of Selectmen.
“Last winter I had a special fund, a reserve account of about $10,000, that was earmarked for fuel. I used all but $2,000,” Larson explained.
Knowing that the dramatic cuts in the federal fuel assistance program would mean increasing requests to her office this winter, she asked that the town find $8,000 to bring the fuel fund up to $10,000. The selectmen agreed.
“We have been blessed with a warm winter so far, but we are faced with increased fuel oil costs,” Larson said, noting that a delivery of 100 gallons of fuel is almost $400. “I’m stretching dollars, but…”
Here the Madison Foundation and the N2N Fund are stepping forward.
“We are challenging individuals, families, organizations, clubs, churches, businesses,” Gerson says. “A dollar donated delivers $2 in fuel; $10,000 can become $20,000. By partnering with residents and the N2N Fuel Fund, we can warm our neighbors.”
Meet the challenge. Donate online at https://www.themadisonfoundation.org or by mail. The donation is tax-deductible. Mail to the Madison Foundation, N2N Match, P.O. Box 446, Madison, CT 06443.
This article originally appeared in The Source.