For Immediate Release
November 24, 2009
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Resources offered to help families overcome economic challenges
As the holiday season approaches, Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the City of Boston are helping residents meet basic needs through the Mayor's Food + Fuel Campaign and other City programs. Between fuel and weatherization resources and food pantries and meal programs, residents will not have to go hungry or freeze this winter.
"The winter months bring challenges to many residents of our City," said Mayor Menino. "But through the 2nd Annual Food + Fuel Campaign, those who face the difficult challenges of affording food and heating their home will be able to make it through the next few months. No one should ever have to choose between heating their home and eating dinner."
For the first time last year, the City sponsored 12 neighborhood DISHs (Dinner, Information, Special Guests and Healthy Recipes) and will sponsor DISHs again this winter. Last week, the first DISH was held in Charlestown at the Kent Community Center with nearly 200 seniors, adults and children. Staff from Boston Centers for Youth & Families, Boston Public Schools, and other key City agencies coordinates the DISH community dinners, which are free, fun and open to the public.
Other resources are available through the City's Web site at http://www.cityofboston.gov/mayor/food_fuel.asp. Fuel assistance programs include ABCD's Fuel Assistance Program, which helps with paying heating bills for qualifying households; Citizens Energy, which allows families to purchase discounted home heating oil; and Massachusetts Energy Consumers Alliance, which helps households save on heating and electricity costs.
In addition to fuel savings, a new tool now helps residents save money on electric bills. Local branches of the Boston Public Library offer the "Kill-A-Watt," which shows how much electricity idle devices consume. The "Kill-A-Watt" helps reduce energy bills by tracking usage by the Killowatt hour, the same standard used by National Grid or NStar.
The Mayor's Food + Fuel Campaign held a summit in September that featured workshops on home weatherization, financial planning, and healthy food purchasing. Residents also received information about food and fuel assistance programs. Last month, Citizens Bank donated $100,000 to the Campaign to help low-income residents cope with food and fuel needs. The City also joined forces with the Black Ministerial Alliance, which supports shelters and emergency food programs that provide heating and fuel assistance.
In addition to assisting residents with food needs through the Food + Fuel Campaign, the City has been collecting food and raising funds for hunger and hunger relief through the 23rd Annual Boston Can Share Food Drive, which has received donations from City residents, employees, public schools, local businesses and community partners since the beginning of November. All food goes to the Greater Boston Food Bank and is distributed to more than 100 food pantries, shelters and free meal programs in Boston's neighborhoods.