PLYMOUTH - The Rotary Club of Terryville’s Fuel Fund is off to a successful start, according to club President James Klaneski.
The fund had a “soft kickoff” last spring. This past fall the club began to publicize the fund and seek monetary donations to help those in need, who remain anonymous throughout the process.
“It was very important to our membership that the fund be set up and administered in such way that none of us ever knows who is receiving our assistance,” said Klaneski. “We wanted to be sure that every dollar is spent for heating assistance and that no one’s need becomes public in any way. This is very simply a vehicle for helping our neighbors most in need.”
The process is administered through the town’s Department of Social Services Director Heather Burns.
Candidates for assistance are pre-qualified by the department. When other avenues for aid have been exhausted, Burns will order fuel for the client. Invoices go directly and anonymously to the club, which in turn issues a check to the fuel vendor. Funds can be used for oil, gas, and electric heat, as well as alternative fuels, such as wood, coal, and bio-fuels.
“The response to date has been absolutely fantastic,” Klaneski said. “While we never had a fixed dollar goal in mind, we thought that $5,000 would be a good accomplishment in our first year. To date we are over $9,000 and the donations are continuing to come in.”
“If you’ve noticed the ‘thermometer’ sign that we have on Main Street, you see that we’ve had to raise the goal several times. The members of the club are humbled, astonished, and so deeply grateful for the generosity of local businesses and individuals. We have had donations from $25 to $2,500. We have already helped quite a few families in town,” he said.
Klaneski has said the inspiration for the fuel fund originally came from the Thomaston Rotary Club, which he used to be a member of and which has had a fund going for a number of years.
The Rotary Club contributes regularly to the Plymouth Community Food Bank, and this is another need the members saw and decided to address, he said. “Every dollar is used to provide heating and other resources. Being Rotary there are no administrative costs.”
The fund will continue to accept donations year-round. Donations can be mailed to: Rotary Club of Terryville Fuel Fund, P.O. Box 422, Terryville, CT 06786.
Anyone in need of fuel assistance should contact Heather Burns at , or visit her office at Town Hall, 80 Main St., Terryville, open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to noon.
For more information about the Rotary Club of Terryville , visit .
Susan Corica can be reached at or .