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Energy Share help available

HELENA — Energy Share of Montana is accepting applications for emergency heating assistance at Community Action Partnership of Northwest Montana in Kalispell, 214 Main Street, 758-5433 or 1-800-344-5979. Energy Share is a private nonprofit organization that was established in 1983 to help Montanans who are facing financial difficulties and loss of heat or lights in their home due to circumstances beyond their control. 

Energy Share helps people no matter what their heat source, but the assistance is usually only once every ten years or so because the organization is truly a source of emergency funds, intended to complement government assistance programs but not replace them.

Energy Share helps an average of about 2,500 families per year (more than 6,000 individuals). The organizational structure is unique because the applications are reviewed individually, allowing people in need of help with their energy bills to explain the difficult circumstances they are facing. Situations that compel people to apply for help with their energy bills through Energy Share could include extreme medical issues, unemployment or reduced wages/hours, or a wide range of other issues that create financial difficulty. 

The only way Energy Share can provide the individual attention it does to each application is through a cooperative effort. A local volunteer Energy Share Committee works with Community Action Partnership to review the applications. Energy Share “happens” with the 10 Human Resource Development Councils (HRDCs) and the Local Energy Share Committees that each HRDC coordinates. The Committee that covers Flathead, Lake, Lincoln and Sanders Counties is made up of volunteers representing NorthWestern Energy, Flathead Electric Cooperative and senior citizens. These Local Committee volunteers donate many hours of time on behalf of the organizations they represent. 

Supporting this entire organization is, of course, Energy Share’s donors. Utility companies, electric cooperatives, propane vendors, large electric users and individual donors all provide the means by which the mission is accomplished. Donation can be made online at Energy Share’s website, www.energysharemt.com. For more information please visit the website or call the statewide office at 1-888-779-7589. 

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