The bitter cold is causing homeowners to burn through heating oil this winter. A program, aimed at helping people pay those bills, got a big donation in the nick–of–time. The National Grid Foundation presented a $70,000 check to the Catholic Diocese of Providence.
The money helps run the 'Keep the Heat on' campaign. It gives aid to those who have exhausted all other public and private forms of assistance. Maria Centeio is one of the recipients. She is the sole provider in her house and takes care of her daughters and grandson. The North Providence woman has a full time job, but the bills keep piling up. Finally it came to a point where she had to ask for help from the church.
"It's very tough because this winter has been very cold. Oil, as you know, it hasn't been cheap," said Centeio. "This program helped us a lot. With out it we would be struggling a lot."
Given the current price of oil the dioceses estimates they will be able to help as many as 350 families with the money— a third more people than they were able to assist last year.
The program is meant to help those running low on oil, or who are about to be terminated with their utility service because they can't afford to pay.