Help available for winter utility bills - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Help available for winter utility bills

By Paul Shahen
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- As the temperatures drop, many of us will be turning up the heat in our homes.  Some families are struggling to make ends meet and heating a home can get expensive, but there is help.    

If you, like a lot of people this time of the year are finding it hard to keep the power on, volunteers from energy assistance know exactly how to help you.

"It's a God send, without associations like that there would be so many people without lights," says Richard Ridge.

Ridge knows what its like to need help with his energy bill.

No lights, means no electricity, and that means no heat. Thanks to organizations like energy assistance people don't have to.

Ridge says without them, it would be lights out.

"My wife makes 240 a week, they take the 40 out, she brings home 200, that doesn't leave us with much to go around," says Ridge.

Ridge was disabled in an accident 30 years ago, his disability was taken away about 2 years ago after a run in with the law. He says he's since found God, and is just trying to make ends meet.

It's people just like Ridge that need to be aware of the assistance out there.  United Way is just another example.

"It really is important that people find the means to be able to keep the electricity on especially for their children,' says John Hayes, Director of United Way of Chattanooga.

United Way works hand in hand with several organizations, they pledge to find a way to help anyone who needs it.  They say the sooner you ask for help, the better.

"Don't wait until the day before it gets shut off to call 211 because we won't have the time to find the agency or church to be able to help,' says Hayes.

As Ridge says, take the help, but be thankful, no matter how bad it gets, he says there's always something to be thankful for.

"I'm thankful every day, every day, for the things that I do get, for the things the lord puts in my way, and the energy assistance, one way or another, I'll make it," says Ridge.

It's all about staying positive. If you think you need a little assistance don't wait. You can contact the United Way at 211.

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