Warm your heart, neighbor’s home

Published 4:57 pm Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thinking of winter in the mountains conjures up an idealic image of families sitting snuggly inside their home enjoying a meal or watching a movie.

Many families in our area however find themselves huddled inside their home in a less than ideal scene – bundled in layers, covered with blankets and shivering from the chill they simply cannot afford to rid from their home.

There’s no denying that heating a home is expensive; bills to fill a gas tank can spike to several hundred dollars. Hundreds of Polk County residents face the staggering question of whether to heat their home or pay their rent.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Polk County’s Department of Social Services is struggling to reach out to these people and prevent them from living without warmth. Unfortunately, funding through the government only stretches so far and those funds that are available dwindle each year.

That’s why it’s so encouraging to see DSS, Thermal Belt Outreach Ministries, Steps to Hope, The Meeting Place and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office all working together to ensure that every penny is used to help the most individuals possible this season.

These agencies need the community’s support to make this winter a safe one for our neighbors.

This issue after all goes beyond making sure a person is comfortable. We all know how to put on an extra pair of socks or a thicker pair of sweat pants to warm up. But for these people it’s not a matter of just keeping the thermostat lower to save money. Not having heat at all is a reality for many and it can lead to life-threatening illnesses, especially for our elderly.

The encouraging news is that there are ways we all can help. Maybe this year, when you are thinking of the gifts that truly would go the furthest, consider the gift of heat for an individual. Outreach accepts donations of both monetary support and even wood to turn up the thermostats or light fires in your neighbors’ homes.

To offer your support or assistance in simply splitting a pile of wood, call Outreach at 828-894-2988.

If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to call Outreach or DSS at 828-894-6633 or 828-894-2100.