All Donations Go To Help
Keep Local People Warm
BY O.J. EARLY
Many Greene County residents will be sitting down for a hearty meal today to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Not everyone is so fortunate.
For some, just keeping warm this day will be a major concern.
The 2013 Coal Fund Campaign, sponsored by The Greeneville Sun and administered free of charge by Greeneville-Greene County Community Ministries, is seeking donations to help local residents who might otherwise be unable to heat their homes during the winter.
"There will probably be more requests this year due to the economic circumstances," said Carmen Ricker, executive director of Community Ministries. "We will probably have more needs."
And the needs are very real for many throughout the county, Ricker said.
How did one local family keep warm?
They built a pallet, set it in the middle of their home and slept together for warmth.
"It's stuff like that we hear," Ricker said. "That just seems unheard of. But it's happening."
More than $100,000 was raised last year during the 2012 Coal Fund drive. The annual campaign officially runs this year from Thanksgiving through Dec. 31, although donations are accepted year-round, Ricker said.
If you -- or your family, church, club, organization, work group, etc. -- would like to contribute, here's how to do it:
Gifts in the form of either checks or cash may be delivered directly to the Community Ministries office at 107 N. Cutler St., between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays. Checks should be made payable to The Coal Fund.
Contributions also can be mailed to:
The Coal Fund
P.O. Box 545
(Because the Coal Fund is considered one of the outreaches of Greeneville-Greene County Community Ministries, Inc., contributions are deductible for federal income tax purposes. Receipts will be provided by Community Ministries upon request of the donor.)
Note: Since Community Ministries staff administer the Coal Fund without charge, 100 per cent of all contributions to the Fund goes to help keep local people warm during the cold months ahead this winter.
Community Ministries staff members screen applicants for heating assistance to ensure that they meet program guidelines.
For example, Ricker said a record is kept of each client requesting heating assistance, along with their documented monthly income and expenses. "Every time there's a request, it goes in the computer," Ricker said.
She also explained that all Coal Fund donations go toward home heating. "It's not co-mingled with Food Bank (funds) or any other agency," Ricker said.
In allocating Coal Fund assistance, she said, Community Ministries staff members first try to help families with small children, and homes with individuals who are seriously ill or who are 70 years or older.
AID LIMITED TO $120
As in recent years, Ricker said, Coal Fund assistance is limited to $120 once during the heating season, "unless it's an absolute necessity."
When the Coal Fund began decades ago, a great many Greene Countians heated their homes with coal.
Given that reality, the dollar amount of heating help that could be received by any one recipient during the winter season was based on the cost of a ton of coal.
The local use of coal ended many years ago, however, and so the standard of assistance per recipient changed from the cost of a ton of coal to the approximate cost of 100 gallons of home-heating oil or kerosene.
But that approach also had to be changed several years ago, Ricker said, when the price of heating oil and kerosene rose dramatically.
Now, the amount per recipient per season is $120 in almost all cases.
The same $120 of Coal Fund help per recipient, she said, will be paid either toward the cost of heating oil, kerosene, residential propane, natural gas, or electric bills of approved Coal Fund applicants.
The key issue is to help Coal Fund recipients with the cost of heating their homes, whatever method they use.
WOOD MINISTRY VOLUNTEERS
A group of volunteers known as the Wood Ministry is again helping the Coal Fund this year.
The volunteers gather, split and deliver wood to those approved by the Coal Fund who can heat their homes with wood.
The wood is provided free of cost to the Coal Fund and the recipient by the Wood Ministry.
Although Thanksgiving Day always marks the formal start of the Coal Fund Campaign, some local individuals and groups have already made gifts to the 2013 campaign, Ricker noted.
In fact, she said, more than $38,000 has already been given: the strongest starting base the Fund has had in her memory.
The early gifts have been much needed, she said, since requests for Coal Fund help have been very heavy in recent days.
Those who have made contributions to the 2013 Coal Fund as of Wednesday, Nov. 27, include:
* South Greene Ministerial Association, $200;
* Newcomer Club, $200;
* Anonymous, $25,000;
* Alberta Ricker, $100;
* Jearoldstown United Methodist Church, $100;
* Fabulous 50's, $250;
* Men of Faith of Mount Hebron United Methodist Church, $75;
* G. F. W. C. Greeneville Women's Club, $150;
* United Methodist Women of Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, $250;
* Mt. Zion United Methodist Church Men, $250;
* Carters Station United Methodist Church, $1,000;
* Greene County Antique Farm & Auto Show, $100;
* Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church Women, $100;
* Lamplighter's Class of Fairview Cumberland Presbyterian Church, $200
* In memory of Ina Copp by Chuckey United Methodist Church United Women, $50;
* Carianna Faith Class of First Baptist Church, $25;
* A J's Royal Ruby Red Hat Society, $125;
* Scott M. Niswonger, $10,000.