Give the Gift of Warmth

The Salvation Army Heat Share and Black Hills Cares partnership gives warmth and hope in Nebraska communities

Lincoln, Neb. — November 30, 2017 — According to 2015 Census data, nearly 225,000 Nebraskans — 12.2 percent of the state’s population — are living below the poverty line. In many Nebraska communities, nearly half of the families with children registered in school qualify for the low-income, free and reduced-cost lunch program.

On the sunniest of days, making ends meet can be a daily stress. As temperatures drop, many households are contemplating the long winter ahead and wondering how they’ll meet all of their family’s needs.

Through the many programs it offers, The Salvation Army gets to know these families and their struggles personally. They sit with the single mother of three who works two jobs and the disabled veteran who has returned to his hometown. And they find ways to give assistance, which offers families hope.

That’s why the Heat Share program has become so important.

“For families stretched to pay all their bills each month, an unexpected car repair or medical bill could put them behind,” says Dr. Linda Burkle, divisional social services director for The Salvation Army. “The Heat Share program, with funds provided by Black Hills Energy and their generous customers, is a vital resource for these families facing a shut off who come to The Salvation Army for assistance,”  In addition to helping with utility bills, Heat Share may repair heating systems.”

The Heat Share program is largely funded by donations Black Hills Energy employees and customers make through the Black Hills Cares program. Employees give donations and organize fundraisers statewide, with the proceeds going to the energy assistance program.

Black Hills Energy customers can indicate the amount of a one-time or monthly contribution to Black Hills Cares on the return portion of their bill. Customers can also make donations to Black Hills Cares through the energy company’s eBill program, a fast, free and paperless way to view their bill.

Black Hills Energy matches donations to Black Hills Cares dollar-for-dollar and forwards the total to assistance agencies in the community. In Nebraska, that means The Salvation Army’s Heat Share program.

“We are so grateful for this partnership with Black Hills Energy and the resources they provide,” Burkle says.  Without it, this program would not exist.”

“The future of our communities depends on us having a shared sense of responsibility and knowing we are all in this together,” says Jeff Sylvester, vice president of Nebraska natural gas operations for Black Hills Energy.  “As the natural gas utility partner, we want to be able to give a hand up where we can, and our Black Hills Cares program and Heat Share partnership does that.”

The program is now available to families in all of the communities Black Hills Energy serves throughout Nebraska.

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