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National Energy Help Week
February 1, 2002

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor:

The unusually warm weather we've recently experienced should not obscure the fact that thousands of New Jersey families are still having difficulty paying their heating bills this winter.

The week of February 8 - 15 has been designated as National Energy Help Week, a nationwide effort to raise public awareness of and increase contributions to charitably funded energy assistance programs. Here in New Jersey, we have such a statewide energy assistance program to help people experiencing temporary financial hardships keep their homes warm and their lights on: New Jersey SHARES.

New Jersey SHARES (Statewide Heating Assistance and Referral for Energy Services) is a non-profit organization that provides grants to help pay past due gas and electric bills for households threatened with the shut-off of their utility service because a job loss, illness or other misfortune has created a temporary financial crisis. In 2001, New Jersey SHARES distributed more than 32,000 grants totaling nearly $8.3 million, including grants totaling nearly $10,000 to 39 New Jersey families affected by the September 11th terrorist attacks.

New Jersey SHARES grants are administered through a network of 50 intake agencies throughout New Jersey, with at least one agency in each of the state's 21 counties. If any of your readers are struggling with their utility bills because of a temporary financial crisis, they can find the agency nearest them by calling us at 908-979-3377 or visiting our web site at www.njshares.org. Any of your readers who would like to make a tax-deductible donation to New Jersey SHARES to help their neighbors in need can also find this information on our web site or over the phone.

National Energy Help Week should remind us that a warm home is something many of our neighbors can't take for granted, but that help is available to those who need it.

Sincerely,


Lawrence Savitsky
Executive Director


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