Hearthwarming Sunday supports Fuel Fund for the Elderly

Mountain Empire Older Citizens is asking area churches and individuals to participate in Hearthwarming Sunday to provide a midwinter boost for the agency’s program that annually assists about 1,000 older adults with emergency heating expenses.

The annual fundraiser, held on the Sunday closest to Valentine’s Day, benefits MEOC’s Emergency Fuel Fund for the Elderly. This year’s Hearthwarming Sunday is Feb. 12. It comes at a critical time for the fuel fund, which assists older adults in Wise, Lee and Scott counties and the City of Norton.

Since Nov. 1, when the program began accepting applications for the 2022-2023 season, the Emergency Fuel Fund has already helped 846 individuals, resulting in expenses of more than $209,150. Fuel assistance requests increase during the coldest months just as funds begin to run low. Hearthwarming Sunday contributions allow MEOC to continue fulfilling requests through the rest of winter.

Churches and individuals assist in the way that works best for them. Some churches collect special love offerings from their congregations, while others take on Hearthwarming Sunday as a benevolence project.

The outpouring of love and generosity from the community’s faith organizations each year is a blessing to the Emergency Fuel Fund and those it assists, said MEOC Emergency Services Director Marsha Craiger.

“I am always overwhelmed by the community’s support. We are so grateful to everyone who donates. Every cent goes directly to help an older adult right here where we live,” said Craiger.

The increasing cost of living has hit the region’s elderly, many of whom already live on small, fixed incomes, particularly hard, continued Craiger. “Every donation will make a difference,” she added.

Donations will never be used to pay for any administrative costs whatsoever.

Churches or individuals desiring more information about Hearthwarming Sunday may contact Craiger at (276) 523-4202 or mcraiger@meoc.org.

Mail donations to MEOC, ATTN: Emergency Fuel Fund, P.O. Box 888, Big Stone Gap, VA 24219. You may also go to www.meoc.org and click on Donations to make a one-time or recurring contribution.

Click here to download a letter to share with your church or other group.