heat assistance picAARP Foundation announced Wednesday that it has established a relief fund to support older adults suffering from the severe cold weather that has gripped much of the nation. AARP and its members are committed to helping those in need; so to support these emergency relief efforts AARP and AARP Foundation will match dollar-for-dollar contributions up to $250,000, which could mean up to $500,000 in aid.

The matching program will be administered through AARP Foundation, and a full 100 percent of funds donated will go directly to agencies providing fuel relief. “We will not allow anyone to charge overhead on these funds,” said a spokesman from the AARP Foundation.

“It’s a tremendous struggle these days for many of our senior neighbors to afford heat and basic necessities, especially this winter with the cold snaps and storms”, said Greg Marchildon, state director, AARP Vermont “and our Foundation’s decision to create a fund and match donations, will really help those in need.” 

The extreme weather, including record-breaking low temperatures and wind chill, could lead to a crisis for many older adults unless we act now. “Many seniors who struggle with a limited income may face difficult choices in the weeks to come,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, AARP Foundation president. For those older adults who are already living on the brink of survival, the increased heating costs and home repairs required to respond to this recent weather could push them over the edge – with months of winter still ahead. Ryerson continued, “AARP Foundation’s efforts around winter relief offer AARP members and others who are concerned, a way to contribute.”

AARP Foundation will focus on states across the Northeast and Midwest and will work with the local AARP state offices to direct funds to organizations providing relief to the most in need. Specifically, AARP Foundation will work with The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in each state to disperse the funds. LIHEAP,  a federal block grant administered by states, is a program of the Office of Community Services, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

To donate to the relief efforts, please go to www.aarp.org/disasterrelief.