LIHEAP.org continues our VOICES OF LIHEAP series, we next share the moving story of a California Senior with a story that brings front-and-center the heat-or-eat choice so many LIHEAP recipients rely on year in and out. Provided once again by Central Coast Energy Services as part of their LIHEAP HELPS CALIFORNIA campaign, yet another poignant example of the quality-of-life and health difference this program makes in the lives of so many millions like her year in and out:
Without HEAP I wouldn’t be able to buy food. The rent that I pay and the amount of money that I get from social security precludes me from having a full belly. Rent is $500 and my income is $869 and HEAP gave me $242. That leaves me for enough for food money. Without HEAP I would have to sacrifice food money, I could see myself eating a lot of Top Ramen. I have a $5 certificate to get into the state parks, so that’s my entertainment money. I don’t have any money to go to the movies or dinner and that’s about it.
I also need HEAP because I like having heat and electricity and there was a time before I was on HEAP that I didn’t have that and I had a giant bill that I couldn’t pay - I had to borrow money to pay the bill...and that is not a good situation. There’s a whole lot of senior citizens in the same situation that I’m in that need the HEAP program to maintain their quality of life –in order to have any kind of quality of life. In order to have security in their life.