Public gets much needed heating assistance

Nearly an hour before doors were set to open at Saint Paul AME church on Shurling Drive, more than a hundred people were already wrapped around the building waiting.

"I got over here [Monday] at about 2:30 p.m.," Jay Johnson said.

Johnson was the 10th person in line.

He's just one of 350 people in Macon who received heating assistance Tuesday morning, thanks to more than $1 million in federal funding and the Macon-Bibb County Economic Opportunity Council.

"It's a blessing," Serenity Hocker said. "If it's one bill or two bills, if it's nothing but $50 or $100, it's a blessing."

Hocker has four kids and says as a parent, being able to pay one more heating bill for them means a lot to her.

Lonnie Miley, president of the Economic Opportunity Council, says most people get up to $350 towards their bills, but that number is based on income.

"They moved everything along smoothly and I got my number," Hocker said. "I'm 241. I would still be happy even if I was the last person in line. I'm just grateful that I made it here," Hocker said.

That gratitude was a common thread between those who say they'll be a little warmer now, thanks to this heating help.

"Every minute, every hour was worth this assistance," Johnson said.

Because being able to keep the heat running and the lights on is something they're willing to wait for.

The Macon-Bibb EOC will continue offering heating assistance throughout the month.

Those who want to apply must fall less than or equal to 60 percent of the state median income and bring:

-The most recent energy bill
-Proof of household income for the last 30 days
-A valid Georgia driver's license or state ID
-A social security card for every member of the household

Doors open at 7 a.m. at Saint Paul AME church on the following days: Dec. 12, 13, 14, 16, 17.

You can also sign up at Union Baptist Church on Kitchens Street beginning at 7 a.m. on Dec. 19 and 20.

Follow 13WMAZ's Anita Oh on Twitter @anita_oh and on Facebook at Anita Oh WMAZ.


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