Prince County home heating program runs dry in two days

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Summerside's Salvation Army managed 400-litre oil deliveries to 80 Prince County families

Paul Vander Velden of Noonan Petroleum (Guardian file photo)

SUMMERSIDE — It took just two days for the $40,000 allocated to the Summerside Salvation Army to help those in need of heating oil to disappear.

Now, the Salvation Army’s Karen Mallett has a list of more than 20 families still in need of oil, a list that continues to grow with each passing day.

Mallett said the money the Salvation Army received from the provincial government could have easily gone the same day that the organization starting taking applications for an emergency 400-litre delivery of oil.

“It could have gone faster but we took the time to look over the applications and to really look at where the need was,” she added. “It did shock me because last year I was told it took 10 days.”

Approximately 80 Prince County families received a 400-litre oil delivery through the program administered locally by the Summerside Salvation Army.

Charlottetown’s Salvation Army had also received money from the provincial government — two thirds of the $121,000 allocated to the program this year — to help those in Queens and Kings counties in need of an emergency oil delivery.

Mallett said even though it has been a couple of weeks since the money ran out she fields calls daily from families seeking help.

Applications came from people of all walks of life, all with varying degrees of need.

“They just said basically they couldn’t afford it. They didn’t give an answer one way or another,” said Mallett. “It just cost too much money. They couldn’t afford to put that much money into their oil tank. What they were doing was… filling jerry cans.”

The maximum price per litre for home heating fuel took a four-cent jump last week and now stands at $1.10, plus GST. The next price adjustment by the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission takes place Feb. 15.

“There’s not a whole lot we can do but depend on the generosity of the public." Karen Mallett, Summerside Salvation Army

Mallett expects that with the increasing cost of home heating fuel, more people will be seeking help from the Salvation Army.

But, she added, there is little that the organization can do.

The Salvation Army did receive home heating fuel donations from a number of oil companies, including Noonan Petroleum and Island Petroleum, and from several organizations and members of the public.

“There’s not a whole lot we can do but depend on the generosity of the public,” said Mallett. “We had a young woman in her early 20s come in and make a $100 donation. People are coming through and we are trying to help the people that are on the waiting list with that money.”

But with the need being so great those donations won’t go far, said Mallett.

“The money is not there for a lot of the families and that’s because they are seasonal workers. With the recent layoffs at a lot of places, it’s hard,” she added. “We’re just waiting to see where we are with our final tallies with the oil companies and what’s left over we are going to try and help the people that need it the most. We are going to try and help families with small children and seniors and those who are down and out.

“It’s easier for us, as adults, to keep warm but when you have children in your home it is extremely hard. I’m just hoping they have a little bit of oil.”


Organizations: The Salvation Army, Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission, Noonan Petroleum

Geographic location: Prince, Charlottetown, Queens Kings

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Recent comments

  • taxpayer
    February 07, 2013 - 07:55

    The smarter thing would be for people to either live in a smaller, more efficiently insulated house, or have an insulation and replacement window/door assistance program. Throwing our tax dollars up in smoke to heat these old drafty houses makes zero sense.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    February 05, 2013 - 17:10

    Why are Islanders not holding these crooked politicians up to public scrutiny? Why are we rolling over and letting this crap happen to us? Do we think that as individuals we cannot take on the MAN? I am here to tell you that we can fight back. We can hold these crooks up so the LIGHT can shine upon them and their daastardly deeds. But we have to do it as a group of individuals. Why not have one of our unelected leaders start a coalition of Islanders called Islanders for change and start gathering up signatures and support for real change? Does anybody out there have a backbone and leadership skills? Please step forward and lead us out of this mess.

    February 05, 2013 - 12:58

    may be these people could burn some of the money for heat that rob ghiz has stashed up over tehse years as preimer.

  • elle's mother
    February 05, 2013 - 12:00

    Something is so wrong.............................

  • Helping
    February 05, 2013 - 11:20

    If you are ever interested in helping a friend or friends out, call Feasible Fuels. They will delivery fuel to the house anonymously , but you must pay up front. If I remember correctly it can be as little as 100 litres. When I called my oil company they refused to deliver without first doing an inspection. (Hard to be anonymous at that point) My Wife and I have done this to a friend of ours who is a single mom. This has been a really cold winter, and every little bit helps.

  • fedup
    February 05, 2013 - 11:15

    Single parent house holds, Low income islanders and other Canadians alike should be exempt from the Federal/provincial tax portions placed on fuel for travel and heat. There , next issue...

  • Please Clarify
    February 05, 2013 - 11:02

    Dear People in Need - my heart goes out to you and your family - Dear People who Donate - thank you very much for your gifts Dear Mr Premier - so glad the PNP "saved us from the recession" ...yeah, right.