Local News

Salvation Army offers help on energy bills

Posted December 1, 2014

— Cumberland County residents stood in line Monday at the Salvation Army Social Services building, waiting their turn to apply for help paying their energy bills.

“Because my light bill sometimes is so high, I always have to ask for help to pay it,” said Fayetteville resident Alene Johnson, one of those in line.

The Salvation Army has about $2 million to provide energy assistance to seniors and those with special needs. Recipients don’t get a check to pay their bills. Instead, the money goes directly to the utility.

When the organization opened the application process in February, the crowd wrapped around the building before the money ran out. The crowd was smaller Monday, partly because Salvation Army staffers conducted outreach at senior living facilities, but the desperate need for help was the same.

“I go to school full time at Fayetteville Tech, so I don’t really have enough money to pay the deposit because I just moved into a new home,” Kimberly Diaz said. “The deposit is like $350, and the heat deposit is like $150.”

The Salvation Army has beefed up its staff since the last application process, but things still slowed at times. Applicants need to bring proper identification.

“We just want folks to realize that, to be patient with us and to make sure that they have everything that they need when they get here so that they can be seen as quickly as possible,” said Jason Smith, director of the Salvation Army branch that serves Cumberland, Scotland, Moore, Robeson and Hoke counties.

The program runs until March 31 or until the money runs out.

“This is just a blessing for me and a blessing that I’m just thankful for it,” Johnson said.


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  • Iam Theantisatan Dec 1, 2014
    user avatar

    This reminds me of a story WRAL did once about Princeville residents that couldn't pay their heating bill.

    The woman they interviewed was dressed for summer in the middle of winter and was complaining that she couldn't afford to heat her trailer enough.

    I think the main issue is that people don't know how to conserve energy by turning the thermostat way down and dressing with multiple layers to stay warm.

  • Tammy Rush Dec 1, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Why do people always assume the worst? Perhaps he lost his job recently but bought those shoes a year ago when he had a job?

  • Brian Jenkins Dec 1, 2014

    The guy in the hooded jacket wearing a pair of $160 Jordan 12's surely isnt waiting for someone to help him out is he?

  • fanoflogic Dec 1, 2014

    This is wonderful. Hope it helps many people in need.