Help for the holidays

By: Mystic Matthews Email
By: Mystic Matthews Email

SHERMAN, Tex. -- While the holiday season is usually a time to celebrate, for some families, it's the hardest time of the year. With the rising price of utilities and travel, many are scrimping just to pay the bills.

What are area agencies are doing to help keep the holidays warm and bright for those who need help? Mystic Matthews has more.

Colder temperatures mean families will be using more heat. Propane has gone up 40 cents since September, but for those in need. Here are places to turn for help.

“What I’m worried about is kids not having Christmas," says ‘Cheryl,’ one financially strapped Texoman we spoke to.

She doesn't want her face videotaped because she's being evicted from her apartment and is being forced to move into a one-bedroom family home that will cost more to heat and light.

So far she's spent nearly $1,000 dollars just to hook up her utilities, which doesn't leave a lot for basics like food and gas let alone presents for her kids.

“People many times find this hard time of year. Three-dollar gas, Christmas presents, people are stretched…stressed."

David Cortinas ,president of the United Way in Grayson County, says in just about half an hour Tuesday he received several phone calls about families in need. One was from a single mom with a 16-month old who has leukemia and no heat in their home.

With the high price of gas and propane, utilities are usually the first bills families put off paying.

There is help available. The Texoma Council of Governments has a program to help those in need pay their utilities.

“We are here to help. But at same time, if you let it go too far we can't do anything," Cortinas says.

Brenda smith, with TCOG's energy assistance program, says making ends meet can be hard.

"We do see folks not able to manage that didn't know about program so it’s gotten to the point to be difficult to address," Smith says.

Getting help is easier than you might think.

“Call us. We’ll refer you to right agencies. Call early; don't wait. Stay in communications. Our job is to find the help," Smith says.

If you or someone you know needs help this holiday season, call the united way in Sherman at 903-893-1920 or TCOG at 2-1-1.

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