Low-income families encouraged to stock up on fuels for winter

MECOSTA, OSCEOLA COUNTIES — Winter may have passed for now, but one organization is urging qualifying individuals to stock up on free fuels for heating homes.

Mid Michigan Community Action Agency is providing free home heating assistance for low income families and individuals residing in Mecosta and Osceola counties.

Lindsey Walenga, MMCAA public relations spokeswoman, said summer is a good time to avoid the rush for fuel when cold weather hits.

“Since these are deliverable fuels people can stock up on them in the summer when the demand is not as high,” Walenga said. “Fuel is now more readily available than in the winter when there might be a longer wait to get fuel.”

The program is funded by a grant from the Michigan Department of Human Services. Qualifying for the program is based on income, and those interested should make an appointment with the local office to be certain.

Welenga said a family size of four would have to be under a monthly income of $3,644 to receive heating assistance from this funding.

“It all depends on family size,” she said. “We deal with mostly low-income people, but not everyone has a good barometer of what low income is. Basically, if you’ve fallen on hard times and can’t pay your heating bill you probably qualify.”

Last year, the Mid Michigan Community Action Agency assisted 1,416 families within its six-county service area. 160 of those families were from Mecosta County and 96 were from Osceola County.

Home heating assistance includes LP Gas, fuel oil, firewood, corn, wood pellets or any other deliverable fuel.

For more information or to make an appointment, those interested should call their local office.

The Mecosta County office number is (231) 660-0271. The Osceola County office number is (231) 791-7078.