Operation Fuel in dire need of donations - CBS 5 - KPHO

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Operation Fuel in dire need of donations

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BLOOMFIELD, CT (WFSB) -

Eyewitness News teamed up with Operation Fuel to help those in need.

The nonprofit organization said its emergency fuel bank was nearly drained thanks to the cold temperatures of this past winter.

It said there are still plenty of people who need help even with spring just a week away.

"When people end up at our doorsteps, they've run out of options, this is it, they're at the end of the line," said Pat Wrice of Operation Fuel.

Operation Fuel said donating is as easy as clicking a box on a customer's online utility bill. It gives the option to pay $1 to help the cause.

The group said that little option took in nearly $400,000. Still, that money was running out.

"We're operating on blind faith," said Wrice. "We've squeezed every penny we can."

Wrice runs the organization.

"They can't control the weather, they can't control the economy, can't control the price of oil," Wrice said.

Overall, there were roughly 300,000 households in Connecticut struggling to pay their energy bills. Wrice said many of them were low-income working families, individuals or the elderly.

"We currently give them a $500 grant when a family comes to us and they can't come back," she said. "That's it for the year and that only buys 100 gallons."

Lesly Ferris of Sharon said she knows all too well. With just one income for her family, Operation Fuel has been a blessing this year.

"We've had other years where we had to get diesel fuel by the five-gallon drum because we could not afford the $500 delivery," she said. "We just did not have the money or credit to do that, so this has made a huge difference to heat the house."

Ferris said it could happen to anyone.

"You just never know in life when circumstances will put you in a time of need," said Ferris. "I finally said we need help."

This winter has taken its toll, Wrice said.

"We can't help everyone and we know that," she said. "But we'll help those that we can."

The group was asking people to donate or consider the add-a-dollar option on next month's utility bill. Every dollar donated goes right to energy assistance grants.

"The people you're reaching out to and helping are people right in your communities, large and small," Wrice said.

In addition to the online box, people can donate directly to Operation Fuel here.

They can also send donations to:

  • Operation Fuel
  • 1 Regency Dr., Suite 200
  • Bloomfield, CT 06002

"I never checked off the dollar box, but might think differently about it now," Ferris said.

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