Hundreds of Bibb County residents lined up outside St. Paul AME Church in east Macon overnight for their shot at help with the heating bill this holiday season.
Some on line said they waited 24 hours and didn't understand why they needed to line up for assistance. So many people showed up for this first installment of heating assistance help, Macon Police shut down the parking lot to any newcomers hours before the process began at 7 a.m.
"I think the process is terrible, they should hand out numbers when you get here you so don't have to sit out in the cold and wait," said Melissa Hines, who was first in line.
But Hines said, once she was let inside the church, she got what she needed.
"The process once you get inside is very smooth, very easy," she said.
Officials of the Bibb County Economic Opportunity Council, which organizes the process, say they discourage people from waiting hours in line.
They accept up to 250 applicants daily. EOC leaders had to turn away scores of people who had been waiting in line after reaching the 250 person limit almost immediately upon opening the doors to St. Paul AME church.
They will also accept applications at the church this coming Friday and again on Dec. 14, 15, 18 and 19.
Applicants must bring with them a current energy bill, a photo ID, social security cards for everyone in the eligible household, and proof of income for the past 30 days.