Midway through a bitterly cold winter, more than 600 families will receive help with their heating bill thanks to a grant from National Grid. Matt Hunter reports.
ALBANY, N.Y. – With more than a month of winter to go, leaders at Catholic Charities in Albany say the season's unusually brisk weather is forcing people to make tough choices.
"Is it food? Do I pay my rent so I can stay indoors, or do I pay my heating bill?” said Vincent Colonno, CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany. “That's the reality of it, and the fact of the matter is people have a hard time prioritizing."
Thanks to a grant from National Grid, the individuals helped by the non-profit will have an easier time navigating that tough path. On Friday, the utility made a $120,000 donation to Catholic Charities' emergency heating assistance program.
"We know how hard it is. We hear it every day through the voice of our customers,” National Grid Foundation Executive Director Edward White said. “We're honored and humbled to be able to participate in a very modest way to increase those grants, increase that giving."
The is the 10th consecutive year the National Grid Foundation has supported Catholic Charities, which is hopeful community members will match that generosity and donate more.
"This is seed money, and we need to continue to keep this going,” Bishop Edward Scharfenberger said. “Every year, the need seems to get greater, so thank God people are stepping up to the plate like this organization."
National Grid's contribution alone will provide heat to more than 1,400 individuals served by Catholic Charities, a number the charity's leader say only scratches the surface.
"It seems like it goes a long way. It serves a lot more than what we've done, but the fact of the matter is we could do more. The demand is out there," Colonno said.