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Joe K: Record Number of People Seek Oil Assistance

The Boston Herald by Dave Wedge Citing “record numbers” of people seeking fuel assistance because of the slumping economy, Joseph Kennedy delivered oil to an elderly East Boston couple whose hefty prescription costs often leave them little money for heat. “This is a big help,” Theresa Murphy said as she and her husband, Charles, received a half-price oil delivery from Citizens yesterday. “We’re both heart patients. It helps a lot toward our prescriptions.” Citizens Energy Chairman Joseph P. Kennedy II said the non-profit company is seeing more requests for assistance this year. There is a very cold wind blowing through the economy this year,” Kennedy said, standing on the Murphys’ Webster Street steps. “We’re running well ahead of last year in terms of requests. There are too many families suffering.” Despite lower oil prices and warmer temperatures, calls to Citizens Energy and other fuel assistance companies are up statewide. “People are worried about making it through the cold winter months,” Kennedy said. The Murphys, Married for 58 years, live across the street from the site where the Kennedy family began. Charles Murphy, an 86-year-old Navy veteran of World War II, is a retired Deer Island correction officer who coached former Red Sox stars Tony and Billy Conigliaro when they played for East Boston Little League. His wife, 81, worked as a bookkeeper for the Department of Revenue for 25 years. The couple are great-grandparents who live on Social Security and a small pension. Their household income puts them just above the requirements for federal fuel assistance so they called Citizens after seeing an ad on TV. “The oil from Citizens Energy really helps,” Charles Murphy said. “When your budget is tight, every bit of savings counts.” For information on the program, call 1-877-JOE-4-OIL.

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