BOSTON -- Citizen Energy Chairman Joseph P. Kennedy II made a delivery of home heating oil today to kick off the 2002 season of the Citizens Energy Heating Oil Program.
The delivery to an elderly East Boston couple took place amidst reports of rising demand for fuel assistance, food pantry supplies, and homeless shelter services across the Bay State, which has been hit hard by the recession.
“There’s a cold wind blowing through our economy,” said Kennedy during the delivery. “We’re seeing record numbers of people seeking beds in homeless shelters, food pantries, and soup kitchens running out of supplies, and fuel assistance agencies receiving increasing calls for help.”
“Even with lower oil prices and warmer temperatures, calls to Citizens Energy and our fuel assistance agency partners are running well ahead of last year. People are worried about making it through the cold winter months. We’re proud to work with heating oil dealers across the state to provide some relief, but we also hope that individuals and institutions step forward to expand our resources for those in need.”
Arriving at the Webster Street home of Charles and Theresa Murphy in a Simione Oil Company truck, Kennedy pumped 175 gallons of fuel into the basement tank of the Murphy residence, which the couple have lived in for over 40 years.
Charlie Murphy, 86, is a retired corrections officer who coached Red Sox starts Tony and Billy Conigliaro when they were youngsters playing in the East Boston Little League. Charlie and his wife, Theresa, 81, are great-grandparents who live on Social Security and a small pension. Their household income puts them just above the eligibility level for federal fuel assistance, so they have turned to Citizens Energy the last two years for once-a-season deliveries of half-price heating oil.
“The oil from Citizens Energy really helps,” said Charlie Murphy. “When your budget is very tight, every bit of savings counts.”
While thanking Simione Oil for their participation in the Heating Oil Program, Kennedy acknowledged all 350 heating oil dealers across the state who make Citizens Energy deliveries to their customers and in many cases authorize deliveries to needy households themselves.
Families interested in receiving a Citizens Energy delivery should call the toll free hotline number 1-877-JOE-4-OIL (1-877-563-4645) for authorization over the phone, or they can call their local fuel assistance agency to arrange a delivery. There are 22 such agencies working out of community action programs across the Commonwealth.
“Dealers affiliated with the Massachusetts Oil Heat Council and the New England Fuel Institute are essential partners in our program,” said Kennedy. “So are the fuel assistance agencies gathered under the banner of the Massachusetts Association of Community Action Programs. Working together, we’re trying to make sure no one is left out in the cold.”
In addition, billboard companies like AK Media and local TV and radio stations have donated space and airtime to assist Citizens Energy’s outreach campaign to households in need.
To help extend Citizens Energy’s program resources, the American Red Cross has established the Oil Heat Fund to receive donations from individuals and corporations. Tax-deductible contributions should be sent to:
American Red Cross Oil Heat Fund 285 Columbus Avenue Boston, Massachusetts 02116