With warm days finally upon us we haven’t forgotten all the wonderful families we served this winter for heating assistance and all who helped us keeping so many warm. We are still compiling the total numbers of all our families assisted with heating and utilities for the winter but we do know that through our heating programs, we served nearly 12,000 families with nearly three quarters of a million dollars from the beginning of November through the end of March.
There is no doubt that when it is all said and done, that we will have seen a record number of families through our doors for heating assistance this winter. It is, indeed, a daunting battle for all who are reaching out in our community to help those in times of need.
Needs seem to always out-distance available re- sources. But there are many warm hearts during these cold days and they made it possible to help keep those who call upon us warm.
We at Eblen Charities receive a great deal of credit for our heating outreach, but the truth is that we are only a small part of a much larger story. We could not be reaching these families in need of heating assistance without our partners at the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services, the Buncombe County Commissioners, Duke Energy, Biltmore Oil, Grace Fuel Oil, Haywood EMC, and the many donors and friends who have generously and unselfishly given to help their neighbors keep warm during the cold winter months.
Without Mandy Stone, Jim Holland, Phillip Hardin, Trish Wallin, and Tracie Franklin of Buncombe County Health and Human Services and Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene, much of our outreach would never come to pass and thousands of our neighbors would not have been able to have kept themselves and their families warm this past winter.
I would also be remiss if I left out the wonderful and tireless job that our staff did, seeing as many as 225 families each day without much of a chance to catch their breath as they worked to put resources together to assist all those who daily called upon us for help.
Many thanks to staff members Brenda Wheeler, Sandy Kennedy, Linda Ennis, Ruby Eure, Louise Hickman, Kathy Conley, John Bates, Susan Riddle, Bill Waddell, Sue Renison, Sue Spanton, Ray and Mary Ann McMinn, Eddie Gumm, Rhonda DeVan, and all of our wonderful volunteers for the tremendous job again this year.
So as spring is finally here and we have once again made it through a winter that has challenged us like no other before, please don’t forget those who have spent their days and nights warmer because of the outreach we all share as well as those in our community who remain unsung as they make sure that Eblen Charities and other organizations have the means and guidance to make sure no one is left out in the cold.