Thursday, November 18, 2010

baby, it's cold outside: help keep your neighbors warm

Fri Nov 19 Showers Sat Nov 20Showers Sun Nov 21Partly Cloudy
Showers 45°/38° Showers 45°/35° Partly Cloudy 42°/33°

At this time of year, we are besieged by five thousand different charities, all doing good work to help those less fortunate. Sure, there are great organizations helping folks get on bicycles, feeding them and helping them take care of their kids.

But when the weather turns really cold -- and it has finally begun to do so here in Oregon -- it gets harder for poor families to stay warm and therefore stay healthy. Choices must be made: Do I pay my [natural] gas bill or do I pay for my medications? Do I try to fix the [electric] baseboard heater or do I simply buy a heavier, warmer coat to wear indoors? Do I buy more oil for the furnace (yes, many Portland-area homes still use oil heat) or do I buy groceries?

So this year, all my charitable money went to one place: Oregon Heat. Oregon Heat accepts donations from folks who can afford to pay their heating bills, in order to subsidize the cost of heating for folks who cannot afford it. With the economy still in the crapper and unemployment in Portland hovering at nearly 10 per cent, more people will have a hard time paying the cost of staying warm this winter. So if you're a Portland-area reader of this blog, I invite you to consider making a contribution to Oregon Heat. If you live somewhere else, ask your local utility providers for electricity, natural gas or home heating oil if they have a subsidy program you can contribute to.

Being cold in the winter really, really sucks. I'm grateful that I'm in a position to help make it a little warmer for someone else in my community this year, and I invite you to do something similar where you live. Bundle up!

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