BIG STONE GAP — Mountain Empire Older Citizens Inc. is requesting assistance from area churches for its annual Emergency Fuel Fund fundraiser designated as Hearthwarming Sunday.
This year’s Hearthwarming Sunday is set for Feb. 17, and will be the 36th year of the fundraiser to provide season-ending money for MEOC’s Emergency Fuel Fund.
The Emergency Fuel Fund program begins each year on Oct. 1 and ends the following March 31, and Hearthwarming Sunday is the event that bridges funding gaps near the annual conclusion of the seasonal program.
The Emergency Fuel Fund provides one-time assistance of $300 per winter to each elderly household caught in an emergency heating situation during the winter months. The fund assists elderly households in Wise, Lee and Scott counties, and the city of Norton, and donations raised during Hearthwarming Sunday help the program remain solvent through the end of March each year.
Through the end of January, the Emergency Fuel Fund has assisted a record 922 individuals this season and expects to assist an additional 200 elderly households before the end of March. Heating fuel payments are made directly to vendors to pay for heating oil, kerosene, gas, electricity, wood or coal.
Churches choose ways to help the program ranging from a special offering, or funds donated from a church missions program. Others have Sunday School classes adopt the program, while others call on their men’s and women’s groups.
Every penny raised for the Emergency Fuel Fund pays for home heating oil and gas, to pay an electricity bill, or buy a load of coal or wood. No funds are used to pay for any administrative expenses.
Donations for Hearthwarming Sunday should be earmarked for the Emergency Fuel Fund and sent to MEOC, P.O. Box 888, Big Stone Gap, Va. 24219.