The need to help others never really goes away

Ten years ago, as it became clear a national recession had the Mid-Ohio Valley in its grip, too, AEP began its Neighbor to Neighbor program, with the help of The Caring Connection in Washington County, to give those who still had a little wiggle room an opportunity to help those who were simply unable to pay their electric bills.

Trouble is, while there is talk of the rest of the nation now having pulled out of that recession — even, reportedly, experiencing an economic boom — local residents are struggling as much as ever. The need for neighbor to help neighbor has not diminished. In fact, in the past year alone, the program has distributed $11,500 (AEP matches donations) to 63 Washington County households to keep their electricity flowing. Bear in mind, that is AFTER those folks have gone through an application process and have exhausted all state and federal resources.

“For the past couple of years, the demand for the program has been pretty steady,” according to Jim Tilley at The Caring Connection.

Fortunately, donations to the program have remained steady as well. Thinking and compassionate local residents understand national-level talk of prosperity and economic good times has little bearing on the need that is still as crushing as ever for too many local families.

Thank goodness they and companies like AEP do.

If you are among them, but were unaware of programs like Neighbor to Neighbor, it is easy to join those lending a helping hand: either look for the box to check on your electric bill, or visit AEP’s Neighbor to Neighbor website.

Certainly that is not the only way to help those who hear talk that the good times are rolling again and wonder “Really? Where?”

We are thankful for the spirit of so many here in the Mid-Ohio Valley who seek out such ways to help and hold up our community.