Rising energy prices along with Minnesota’s lengthy cold winters affect everyone. However, seniors living on fixed incomes are affected more than others when it comes to heating their homes in addition to paying for other basic necessities. For Beatrice of White Bear Township, 25% of her social security check went directly to her heating oil company each month. “After paying my other utilities, I didn’t have much left for anything else. The fuel bill had to be paid and I was worried how to pay for it all,” she said. Almost 97 years old, Beatrice said she lived frugally and was hesitant to ask for help—partly for not knowing where to go and also thinking others may be in worse shape financially. She doesn’t drive, has limited access to family in the area and felt uncomfortable letting folks in her church know she was struggling. Then, Beatrice remembered receiving help from Community Action many years ago, so she called.
“The people I spoke to in your office [Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties] made me feel comfortable and let me know I wasn’t alone. They were so kind by treating me with dignity. It was hard for me to ask for help, but I am so glad I didn’t let my pride get in the way,” said Beatrice. She was also able to apply when our Energy Conservation program still had ARRA (American Recovery & Reinvestment Act) funds available. The house she has owned for 65 years was energy inefficient and qualified for weatherization services like new insulation.
“Community Action is a marvelous organization with great folks. I really, truly appreciate everything you have done for me,” she said. “When every dollar counts these days, I can’t think about what someone in my situation would do without the support they have given me. It’s a comfort to know they are there for us.” We at Community Action Partnership are grateful to have thoughtful, independent seniors like Beatrice in our community and we feel honored to have helped.