Gift of Warmth: Mother and daughter 'so grateful' for help with heat in time of need

·4 min read

When Debra Neenan, went to Community Action Partners of Strafford County for fuel assistance, she knew her mom needed help, too, so they went together.

"This is the first time I ever had to ask for help, so it was hard to swallow my pride," said Neenan, 60. "I became disabled about a year and a half ago and am unable to work. I have neuropathy and I have had pneumonia three times. It's hard to get around sometimes. Sometimes it's so bad I can't even write my own name."

Neenan was forced to retire and is now living on Social Security retirement, a fixed income. She lives alone in a mobile home.

"We lost my father two years ago," she said. "My mother (Bonnie Neenan) lives in a mobile home in Rochester. We were both struggling to fill our oil tanks so we could be warm in the winter months."

More Gift of Warmth:

A friend told Neenan about community action.

"I didn't know a lot about it but I had nothing to lose," she said. "We went together, my mom and I, and filled out the applications. They came and topped of my tank, cleaned my furnace and gave both of us vouchers for fuel, $941 for me, and $1,500 for my mother."

Community action people are also coming to look at their homes in the coming week, to see if they qualify for the weatherization program.

"I am so grateful and I have told them that," said Neenan. "They are so nice to everyone. Marybeth, the woman I have been speaking to told me — that's what the money is there for, to help. When I get back on my feet, I would love to find a way to help pay them, to pay them back for what they have done to make us feel more secure this winter."

How to donate

Gift of Warmth
Gift of Warmth

The way the Gift of Warmth program works is simple, and comes from the heart. Each week, Seacoast Media Group shares the story of one person or family that received help from the Rockingham or Strafford community action programs. This allows readers to know the real needs of the real people their Gift of Warmth contributions, of whatever amount, help to address.

Donations are gratefully accepted, and will be distributed among the two CAP programs for them to make a real difference in real lives.

This year, we ask that checks donated to Gift of Warmth be made out directly to either Rockingham Community Action or the Community Action Program of Strafford County. Please write “Gift of Warmth” in the check memo line to ensure the money goes for fuel assistance.

Checks should be mailed to Gift of Warmth, Seacoast Media Group, 111 New Hampshire Ave., Portsmouth, NH 03801.

We will tally the checks, record the names of each week’s contributors and then forward the checks on to the two county community action programs. Each week throughout the campaign, Seacoast Media Group will publish that week’s donors. Again, please make the checks out to either the Rockingham Community Action Program or the Community Action Partnership of Strafford County and write Gift of Warmth in the memo line.

If you need help

To apply for fuel assistance, call Rockingham Community Action at (603) 431-2911. People experiencing any significant hardship or financial crisis can also call and they will be referred to the appropriate person. For more information, visit snhs.org.

For Community Action Partnership of Strafford County, call (603) 435-2500 or visit straffordcap.org.

This week’s donations bring total to $68,005

  • This week’s donations:

  • Darlene & Neal Ouellett, $550

  • Loretta & Walter Campbell, $200

  • Morton & Nancy Cherim, $150

  • Katharine Moody & Kenneth Ernstoff, $500

  • John & Penelope Reynolds, $200

  • Eileen & Steve Trickey, $100

  • Jane & Peter Torrey, $200

  • Art & Sherry Hoffman, $100

  • Anonymous, $100

  • Nancy & Russell Vanbilliard, $100

  • Anonymous, $200

  • Anonymous, $50

  • Ann & Ferris Saad, $100

  • Mary White, $100

  • Donna & Raymond Drapeau, $250

  • Ann & Arthur Ditto, $100

  • Katharine Moody & Kenneth Ernstoff, $500

  • Janis & Robert Timerman, $100

  • Leonard Korn MD & Elyse Barry PhD, $100

  • Lauren Hill, $250

  • Pamela Lariviere, $50

  • Christopher Rose and Sarah Baker, $50

  • Mark Mattson, $200

  • Anonymous, $50

  • Evelyn Laux, $100

This article originally appeared on Fosters Daily Democrat: Gift of Warmth: Mom, daughter 'so grateful' for help with heat

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