With the arrival of cool weather, the American Red Cross is launching a program to help warm the homes of Blanco County residents who could use a little extra heat.
And you can help.
The ARC’s Hill Country Chapter in Kerrville will provide at least 30 small electric space heaters to help low-income residents here keep the winter chill away. It’s an expansion of a program the Red Cross has been running in its home county, Kerr, and Blanco is its first addition.
“Our test period is over now and we know the program works and truly is needed by some of our neighbors,” said Kristy Vandenberg, Executive Director of the chapter. “Support for the Red Cross has been growing in Blanco County, so we thought it would be a good place to grow this program.”
Vandenberg said although the ARC is buying the heaters to give to needy recipients, actual screening and distribution will be done locally — the Good Samaritan Center in Blanco and First United Methodist Church in Johnson City. She said anyone who wants to apply for a heater or recommend someone else for one should contact the two local groups directly: the Good Samaritan Center at 833-5269 or JoAnn at the First United Methodist Church, 868-7414.
She explained the top priority will go to four groups:
1. The elderly, age 62 or older, with limited fixed incomes, such as Social Security.
2. The disabled, living on disability income.
3. Families with children under 6 and limited finances.
4. The chronically ill who would suffer from cold and can’t afford a heater.
Persons in the first three categories can apply directly for a heater or be recommended by anyone; the chronically ill need to be recommended by a social worker.
Blanco and Johnson City are allocated 15 heaters each. The local distributing agencies will issue vouchers to those selected, then on distribution day the vouchers can be exchanged for a new heater.
“We hope Blanco County residents will get involved in this program, even those who don’t need a heater themselves,” Vandenberg said.
“First, they can help scout for those who need more heat and recommend them to the Blanco and Johnson City screener-distributors.
“Second, they can make a cash donation to the Hill Country Chapter to help us to buy more heaters to give away. The Lowe’s store in Kerrville is giving us a steeply discounted price on the heaters, but we still have to raise money to pay for them.
“And third, anyone with a new space heater that’s never been used can donate it, and see it go immediately to someone in their own community who needs it.”
For more information about giving or receiving heaters, contact the Good Samaritan Center in Blanco or First United Methodist Church in Johnson City, or call the Hill Country Chapter of the American Red Cross at 830-257-4677.