Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Share the Pennies program gives neighbors chance to help each other

L to R: Tyrrell and Barbara Avant, a Project Care recipient,
listen as Myjareya Avant reads out loud.

Retired naval base cook Velma McDaniel and school crossing guard Barbara “Nanny” Avant epitomize the best of neighbors helping neighbors. “We all need help some time or another,” said McDaniel, 79.

McDaniel signed up for the Share the Pennies program three years ago. The program rounds up her monthly utility bill to the next whole dollar and allows her to donate the difference to MLGW and MIFA’s Project CARE. The most anyone will ever give in a year’s time is about $12.

Avant applied for Project CARE assistance in 2014. Through McDaniel’s support – and that of others –Project CARE helped Avant replace her gas furnace.

“When you get 66, you think your Social Security is going to take care of you, but it doesn’t,” said Avant, who is raising her grandchildren, Myjareya, 10, and Tyrrell, 9.

Project CARE’s energy efficiency program helps elderly and disabled homeowners with minor repairs costing $1,500 or less. Donations go towards such repairs as replacing heaters or adding attic insulation, double-pane windows or energy efficient doors.

When her furnace started acting up, Avant bought electric space heaters, but it pushed her winter bills to almost $300. “It is half that now,” she said after workers installed a new gas furnace in 2015.
As far as being a Share the Pennies giver, McDaniel never knew until now she was helping a family that lives only a few blocks from her in Frayser. “I was always taught if you were able to give, you are supposed to give,” she said.

The more customers give, the more families MLGW and MIFA can serve. So far, the program has helped 224 families. If you have changed addresses since signing up for Share the Pennies, please call 901-528-4887 so we can continue your contributions.

To sign up or make a one-time donation, go to mlgw.com/sharethepennies.

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