Recently, SCI became aware that there is an apparent lack of local emergency fuel assistance funds for residents in immediate need. We realized that this was a serious problem when a local resident who had been without oil for three days contacted us for assistance in locating emergency funding and we were unable to find any.
This prompted us to secure a matching donation from a local oil company, Stoneham Fuel, while SCI raised the remaining funds from the community. The response we received was immensely generous.
After this incident, SCI acted quickly by inviting community groups and individuals to attend a community meeting on how we can address this issue moving forward. The community meeting generated some promising solutions and we have decided to continue these discussions at another meeting on Tuesday, February 5th from 5:30-6:30pm at the Council of Social Concern (2 Merrimac St., Woburn).
SCI hopes to establish a group of people who are interested in participating in an Emergency Fuel Assistance Committee to develop another option for Woburn residents in need. A small fund has been set aside, and we need to act quickly, so that we can help those in need during the remaining cold winter months and to ensure that this funding can be sustained in the long run to help those who really need the assistance.
At the first community meeting to address this issue, we discussed how there are limited resources available for those who are income-eligible to receive fuel assistance, but then run out of fuel in the winter months. This is especially problematic for people who heat their homes with oil because their pipes can burst if they go unheated for too long. During the winter months, funding for fuel assistance can be extremely hard to come by.
Because there are limited options available for emergency fuel assistance and there are residents who have a legitimate need for assistance, SCI is bringing people together to form this Emergency Fuel Assistance Committee to address this issue collaboratively and as soon as possible.
If you would like to get involved in this effort, please come to the next community meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 5th at The Council of Social Concern. If you have any further questions, please contact Candice McLaughlin at (781) 935-2244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.