The Issue: Financial Expense of Heating Oil
As the days grow shorter, families find themselves spending more and more on home heating. For families struggling with ongoing financial problems or illnesses, heating bills can become an insurmountable obstacle. Heating costs continue to rise, nearly doubling over the last three years in North Carolina, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The Campaign: Providing One Month of Heating Oil
If 50 people donate $10, then Eblen Charities can fund one month of heating oil for one family experiencing financial hardship. Each additional $500 raised will provide another family with one month of heating oil. Eblen Charities pays the oil company directly to provide heat to the family at its home. During the winter of 2011–12, Eblen helped heat the homes of more than 1,800 families, keeping their homes at a comfortable temperature in the face of freezing weather.
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In 1991, the second year Joe Eblen had organized a golf tournament to benefit cystic-fibrosis research, he got wind of a father in crisis. The father’s daughter, a cystic-fibrosis patient, needed urgent treatment at Duke University Hospital, but he had no money to take her. Because he had insurance, he was denied any assistance, despite his financial struggles. In his desperation, he contacted Joe’s tournament organizers, who informed him that they only raised money for research. Joe knew the father needed help now, and paid the family's expenses out of his own pocket.
Recognizing an unaddressed need to aid struggling local families, Eblen organized a garage sale, raised $400, and founded Eblen Charities. The organization started out assisting 300 families and has grown rapidly to serve thousands of families across the state with more than 70 programs. It provides assistance with medical bills, energy costs, and housing aid for families experiencing crises. Eblen Charities also ensures students and teachers have enough food and supplies, and provides grants to families in immediate need.