WALDOBORO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Thousands of Maine people have been struggling to buy enough fuel to keep their homes warm this winter. Many of them have had to go to their town or city welfare office to ask for assistance.
Local General Assistance officials say the need for help seems greater than ever this winter, in part because of the long cold spell. Waldoboro GA director Darryl McKenney, who has been in that job for thirty years, says the need for help seems more urgent than ever this year: "We get $3,000 from the Salvation Army we can use in fifty dollar vouchers," says McKenney. He says that amount of money typically covers the need for small fuel vouchers from October to the following September. "I'll be out of those funds in January for the first time ever in four months," says McKenney.
Waldoboro has already helped more than 200 households this winter, using a patchwork of assistance. Most of it comes from local donation funds, churches or the Salvation Army. One of the funds is the Lincoln County Community Energy Fund, which all comes from local donations. Robert Clifford, one of the co-directors of that fund, says they have paid out more than $50,000 for fuel since mid-November, just in Lincoln County. He says the requests began two months earlier than usual, "and we still have 60 to 90 days of winter left to go."