Hartford Courant: Energy Assistance Providers Brace for High Demand

Thank you to one of our Operation Fuel clients, Amanda Colavito, for sharing her story with the Hartford Courant about her need for reaching out for help due to COVID-19 economic reasons.

If you or someone you know is struggling with utility or energy costs, please click here.

An excerpt from the Courant: “We’ve definitely seen an uptick for assistance for electricity so far, not fuel,” said Brenda Watson, executive director of Operation Fuel, a nonprofit organization that provides emergency assistance to lower-income working families, the elderly and disabled people who are in financial crisis but ineligible for help from government-funded programs. “In fact, in fiscal year 2019-2020, we provided 1,805 households with fuel or natural gas for heat. But we provided 3,352 households with electricity.”

Middletown resident Amanda Colavito is among those who sought out Operation Fuel for help.

Colavito said she is a single, hard-working woman who takes a lot of pride in being self-sustaining.

“COVID-19 changed that whole dynamic for me. I went from working 55 hours a week to [working from] home as a full-time secretary and lost my waitress job that I’ve had for 15 years,” she said. “To make a long, drawn-out story short, I had to ask for help. My parents helped me stay afloat more than once, they lent me rent money, helped with groceries and did as much as they could within their means to help me.”

Colavito said that because she only lost one income she was unable to collect unemployment and her apartment complex offered no leniency for the loss of partial income. She reached the point of having to sell personal belongings to make ends meet while working with an accelerated debt recovery program to pay off some old credit-card debt.

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