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H.O.M.E. Challenge Grant Results in $36,658 in New Funds for MEOC's Fuel Fund.

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For the past three years, the Helping Our Mobile Elderly (H.O.M.E.) Foundation of Venice, California, has selected the Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly of Mountain Empire Older Citizens, Inc., as a recipient of a much needed funding boost. In August 2012, the H.O.M.E. Foundation issued an $8,000 Challenge Grant to MEOC for the Fuel Fund. This meant that the foundation would match dollar for dollar up to $8,000 in new donations to the Emergency Fuel Fund. 

Notified in late September of this opportunity, MEOC immediately issued a call for assistance to area churches, businesses, civic organizations and private donors to help raise $8,000 in new funding during the month of October to match the H.O.M.E. Foundation’s Challenge Grant. This new funding opportunity followed MEOC’s very successful May Walkathon, its largest annual fund-raiser for the Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly. The community responded overwhelmingly to the request. The community raised a total of $28,658 during the month of October thereby matching the $8,000 challenge grant 3.6 times over and increasing the coffers of MEOC’s Emergency Fuel Fund by a grand total of $36,658. The numerous donations from the community ranged in size from $5.00 to an anonymous donation from a local business owner for $8,000.  

Michael K. Wampler, MEOC Executive Director, noted that “The communities served by MEOC are always so generous and energized by the support of the H.O.M.E. Foundation and its concern for the older citizens of Lee, Wise, Scott Counties and the City of Norton. As a result of the partnership among the H.O.M.E. Foundation, MEOC and the caring contributors of far southwest Virginia, MEOC entered the winter months much better financially prepared to address the emergency needs of our region’s older and most vulnerable citizens.” 

With the growing needs of our region’s older citizens, MEOC officials are seeing an increased number of requests from our area’s frailest residents trapped in emergency situations. During the 2010-2011 winter season the Emergency Fuel Fund responded positively to 1,604 requests for assistance and has responded to 939 requests thus far in the 2011-2012 season.  

The H.O.M.E. Foundation previously awarded MEOC a grant for $10,000 for the 2010 Emergency Fuel Fund and an $8,500 Challenge Grant in 2011. The foundation is a small one which selects only a few community-based organizations each year to fund.  

Representatives from the H.O.M.E. Foundation visited MEOC and southwest Virginia in 2010 and were very impressed with the amount of community support for programs serving the frail elderly in our region.  

Donations to the Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly can be made year round and can be sent to MEOC Attn: Emergency Fuel Fund, P.O. Box 888, Big Stone Gap, VA 24219. Call MEOC’s Rachel Helton at 1.276.523.4202 for more information. Online contributions can be made via MEOC’s website at www.meoc.org  using PayPal.