The state’s major utility company, Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG), has several assistance programs for its customers, including Share the Warmth. The company has experienced an increase in requests for help from its customers for assistance with paying heating bills through the Share the Warmth program.
Spokespeople from ONG have said that the need for assistance with paying bills this year is greater than in past years, and it also also greater than the available resources that the company has. It is a fact that the economic crisis the country is facing, as well as conditions here in Oklahoma, and the recession that we have all experienced, has made the need for assistance even greater than many imagined just a few months ago.
The Share the Warmth program is funded by contributions and donations from customers and corporations. Customers can add an additional amount above what they owe on their energy and heating bill and designate the additional money to go towards the Share the Warmth program.
The money that the company raises is transferred to local Salvation Army branches, which administers the program and distribute the funds and grants to those people in need.
The Arkansas-Oklahoma division of the Salvation Army has indicated that case managers are now seeing requests coming from middle-class and two-income families who have never before had to ask for assistance with paying their bills.
Unfortunately funding for the program is limited, and some of the local Salvation Army branches have run out of Share the Warmth grants to pay out. They have resorted to trying to assist people in other ways by providing them with gift cards and/or food baskets. This will help them free up funds that they pay for other expenses so that they are able to pay their utility bills.
The Share the Warmth program is available in all 67 counties in the Oklahoma Natural Gas service area. If you need assistance, call 1-800-664-5463 to learn more or to apply for aid.