Editor’s note: The following anecdote is a true story. The names have been changed, but the people live in Rogers County and are in need of your help this holiday season. Make a difference through Share the Spirit.

Meet a neighbor.

Mrs. Walter, her husband and three children live in a trailer with no insulation. The windows, floors and doors leak air. It’s expensive to heat and impossible to heat efficiently. Their heating bills have been literally “out of their reach” the last two months.

Last month, the family pawned the household van in order to pay their electric bill.

The Walter family story is real. Case workers at the Department of Human Services know first hand what this Rogers County family is facing as the holidays approach.

Mrs. Walter has not been able to work outside the home and Mr. Walters is unemployed. The family does receive social security income but it is not enough to make ends meet.

Mrs. Walter called Community Action Resource and Development to apply for that agency’s weatherization program in an effort to stem the electric costs. But, after her trailer was inspected, Mrs. Walter was told it is in such poor enough condition that it was not worth the time or money to weatherize the place. Instead, the Walter’s home was placed “high on the list” for CARD’s rehabilitation program. Funding for that program is not expected until March 2007, Mrs. Walter said.

Meanwhile, the furnace on the Walters’ trailer has gone out. Now they are heating their trailer by running the stove and with an electric space heater used during the night in the largest bedroom. All five people are sleeping in the same bedroom to try to stay warm.

When Mrs. Walter called the DHS office to ask about applying for the LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program), they found they were eligible, but it only covers about one-fourth of their bill.

You can make the holidays just a little brighter for families like the Walter’s if you care enough to “Share the Spirit.”

Your contribution to Share the Spirit’s annual campaign to raise funds for Christmas food baskets can make a difference for this family.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to Share the Spirit, P.O. Box 248, Claremore, OK 74018, or left at the Claremore Progress business office from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The goal is $19,000.

In addition to cash donations, non perishable foods and canned goods can be dropped at several locations around the city: City Hall reception area, City Police Department, The Daily Progress office, Will Rogers Library, Community Center, Recreation Center and the City Warehouse.

Food baskets are distributed throughout the city and the greater Rogers County area.

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