Keeping up with demand: Pictou County Fuel Fund sees increase in clients

Published on January 22, 2013

NEW GLASGOW – Coming home on a cold winter night, turning on the heat and settling in for a warm night is something not everyone can afford.

For some, the cost of oil is too high and, without some help, they would go without heat in the winter months.

But the Pictou County Fuel Fund is there for those in a financial crisis who can’t afford to turn on the heat.

Chairman of the Pictou County Fuel Fund, Ray Wagg, said the organization has seen an increase in the number of people using the fund this year.

“Demand is up and that has to do with a couple of things, one of which being people are becoming more aware of our existence and there has also been an increase in the good neighbour program sponsored through Salvation Army,” Wagg said. “Fewer people can access that program,” so more people are turning to the fuel fund as a result.

Wagg said the fuel fund is last resort for those who have no other options to pay for heat.

“It is an emergency fund and we partner with other agencies to ensure there are no other sources of funding available for the person and it’s really meant to be there in a crisis situation,” he said.

Wagg said that although the demand is up “quite a bit” this year, he’s optimistic that the community will rally together in fundraising efforts to help the fund meet that demand.  

“If we match last year, we provided just over 200 households and our allotment is $300 per household. So, that would set our goal at approximately $60,000,” he said. “I think so far it’s going quite well. We’re up around $35,000. People have been extremely generous.”

He added that a number of church groups have been fundraising for the fund and a general mail-out was distributed through Pictou County Council of Churches, which Wagg said has been successful in bringing in funds.

“We’re optimistic that we’ll have enough to meet the demand,” he said.  

The Pictou County Fuel Fund uses one per cent of the fund for operating costs and 99 per cent for the purchase of fuel. The Pictou County Fuel Fund partners with the Pictou County Help Line, which provides information about the service to those in need.

“Our motto is that no child should go cold in Pictou County,” Wagg said.