Archived Story

Agencies collaborate to keep Polk County warm

Published 4:56pm Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This means there is no way for Outreach or any other organization to predict how many people they can help each season.

Kim Pack with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said the department’s needy fund works hard to provide assistance where possible.

Pack said the fund received about $2,000 from a recent horse show held for its benefit but said that money dwindles rapidly when it takes hundreds of dollars to fill up someone’s gas tank. She said the department is also still waiting to hear whether or not it will receive an additional grant, which typically amounts to about $3,000.

“We are all checking with each other – talking back and forth – to make sure we are not doubling up so that as many people can get help as possible,” Pack said.

Newton said Outreach, DSS, Steps to Hope, The Meeting Place started talking about this a couple of months ago when we saw what the future was going to bring, so we are working together to support the community,” Newton said. “There’s just not any money and everybody is feeling it,” Newton said. “We’re all in this together.”

Newton said this is why general support from the community is so important. General donations, not specified for a specific fund, give the organization the flexibility to help where needed.

“We have been very careful – as we are with all our money – so we can make it as elastic as possible,” Newton said.

Outreach provides money to cover the heating bills of residents in need through two resources.

The organization receives some monies from the JM Fund set up through the Polk County Community Foundation, while other dollars trickle in from Duke Shareholders’ funds. The later funds were made available when the most recent Duke rate increase was approved, Newton said, and a certain amount was set aside to come back to communities to assist low-income residents with heating costs.

Outreach can only provide Duke Shareholder monies to cover the costs of bills for Duke customers. But she said those funds would stave off the cold in quite a few homes this winter season.

“It is the defining difference that will make this year work,” Newton said.

Outreach also relies on donations of firewood to keep many homes’ wood-burning fireplaces and stoves going.

The organization receives firewood through a number of churches such as Congregational Church of Christ and Seventh Day Adventist, as well as individuals.

Holy Cross Episcopal Church has also started a program to help the ministry receive wood, get it cut and get it split. Volunteers are always needed to cut and split the wood, she said.

Last year, Outreach provided 84 loads of wood to the community.

If you or someone you know is in need of heating help this winter, Outreach opens Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. No appointments are necessary but individuals needing assistance must go through an interview process. To find out what documentation you need, call Outreach at 828-894-2988.

Applications for the LIEAP assistance will be taken Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at

Polk County Department

of Social Services

231 Wolverine Trail

Mill Spring, NC  28756

For additional information about LIEAP, contact Polk County DSS at 828-894-6633 or 828-894-2100.

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