Friday, December 18, 2020

Help available as need for local heating assistance increases

The nonprofit organization Windham Neighbors
Helping Neighbors provides one-time emergency
heating fuel assistance to Windham and Raymond
residents, and to direct residents to available
long term resources while promoting a culture
of neighbors helping neighbors locally.
By Lorraine Glowczak

At a recent Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors board meeting, it came to the members’ attention that they have had several new requests this year for heating assistance. Their concern for and offer to those individuals, and others who are facing financial challenges, is to provide more information to the community that help is available in various ways.

“Several new people who made request from us had no idea about applying for LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program),” said Deb McAfee, WNHN Board and Community Service Committee member. “Some people who had reached out to never had to pay the bills before and were unaware where and how to begin.”

McAfee said that WNHN can help individuals who request heating needs while they apply for LIHEAP or are waiting for their appointment for LIHEAP approval. 

Briefly, Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a 501c3 nonprofit, provides one-time emergency heating fuel assistance to Windham and Raymond residents, and help direct individuals to appropriate long-term resources and promote a culture of neighbors helping neighbors.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program through the Department of Health and Human Services. The program provides money to help low-income homeowners and renters pay for heating costs and they assist in paying the heating bills. There are income guidelines for eligibility, and applications are accepted from Aug. 1 through April 30 each year. Contact information for LIHEAP is 1-800-452-4668.

Residents in need can also contact local Windham officials for a LIHEAP application including Rene Daniel, Windham’s General Assistance Administrator. He is available to help with the application process and to answer any questions one may have. He can be reached at 207-892-1906.

Daniel, who also oversees the Windham Food and Clothes Pantries located at 377 Gray Road in Windham, said they have seen a minor spike with the need for services since the pandemic began, including the need for LIHEAP applications

“We’ve seen a small uptick in recent months,” Daniel said. “And we are there to provide the gaps and carryovers from local, state and federal aid. All people need to do is to make an appointment with me and I will help walk them through the LIHEAP application process and we will support everyone who walks through the door. Even if they are not eligible for receiving LIHEAP funding, we will find a way to help in some form.”

Daniel said he is very grateful for local organizations and individuals who give so that others may live in a healthy way and keep warm for the winter.

“I am so lucky to be a part of Windham,” Daniel said. “People in this community are just so giving. I
am especially thankful for Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Once a person applies for federal heating assistance, there is a waiting period, and it is possible their heat may be turned off until they get approved. To prevent this from happening, all I have to do is call Neighbors Helping Neighbors, and they are there to help us fill in the gaps between services.”

The services provided by the Windham General Assistance Program also include food and clothes. Currently, because of the pandemic, the food and clothes pantries are open by appointment only.  

“We ask that people call in and we will prepare the bags of groceries they need,” Daniel said. “Once they arrive, we require people to remain in their vehicles with masks on and we bring out the bags of food and place them in the trunk of their cars. We are getting pretty fast at this drive-up service. In fact, I think we can do it in less than a minute or two – all the while adhering to CDC guidelines for social distancing.”

The eligibility requirements at the Windham Food and Clothes pantries are quite simple.

“We are only one of two food pantries in Maine whose only requirement is proof of Windham residency,” Daniel said. “That is all we ask. We do not ask for anything else.”

The Windham Food Pantry also offers a once-a-month drive through program for older citizens in the area. The next drive thru program for those 60 and older is from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

The following is list of resources available for those who are facing financial challenges in the Raymond and Windham communities (heating assistance or otherwise).

Town of Windham:

·         Rene Daniel/Windham Food and Clothes Pantries and heating assistance: 207-892-1906

·         Windham Town Clerk, Linda Morrell: 207-892-3507

·         Judy Vance of Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors: 207-892-1900.

·         St. Ann’s Essentials Pantry, St. Ann’s Episcopal Church located at 40 Windham Center Road in Windham: Serves families by providing personal and household items that cannot be purchased by an EBT debit card. For more information, call Deacon Wendy Rozene at 207-232-0841.

Town of Raymond:

·         General Assistance Administrator Jennie Silverblade: (207) 655-4742 x 124

·         Raymond Food Pantry: Lake Region Baptist Church, 1273 Roosevelt Trail in Raymond, call 207-428-3637.

·         Town Manager’s Office: Don Willard at (207) 655-4742 x131

·         Raymond Village Community Church at 207-655-7749.

Towns of Raymond, Windham and Standish;

·         Sebago Lakes Region Fuller Center for Housing: Although unable to assist directly with heating needs, they collaborate with Window Dressers – an organization that improves the warmth and comfort of homes, lowering heating costs that reduces CO2 emissions by producing low-cost insulating window inserts that function as interior-mounted storm windows. The local Fuller Center’s mission is to serve older adults who wish to remain in their home by providing home repairs or renovations and yard work with a “pay it forward” mindset. For more information, call 207-838-8378 or send an email to <

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