“When’s the next one? Will this be annual?” These questions dominated post-event conversations about the Affordable Energy Resources Fair, organized by Vital Communities, on Saturday, November 19 at the LISTEN Community Dining Room in White River Junction.
About 80 people came in from an unseasonably warm late-fall day to get help dealing with the cold and fuel bills that they know are headed our way this winter. Coming from as far as Island Pond, VT, they learned about help they could get through New Hampshire and Vermont governmental and nongovernmental organizations; picked up free DIY weatherization materials (door sweeps, plastic window insulation kits, caulk tape, and pipe insulation were the most popular items); and brought free home prepared meals from the Little Grille in Bradford, VT, and bags of food to help inflation-stressed food budgets. Sharing ideas about what they planned to do as a result of visiting the fair won people a spin on the prize wheel and a chance to win extras like shopping trolleys for carrying groceries on foot or by bus and Efficiency Vermont hats.
Thanks to all the volunteers from Upper Valley Energy Committees and to our co-hosts Efficiency Vermont’s Button Up Campaign and LISTEN Community Services, as well as these organizations who sent representatives:
Gathering Energy Help Resources is one part of Vital Communities’ energy burden work!
For an online catalog of many of the resources available, go to vitalcommunities.org/energyhelp
Here are some comments people made as they were leaving:
It never hurts to have ideas to save some money. We heat with kerosene and it costs twice as much as last winter.
We’re just about ready to sell the house [because of heating costs] but now we feel like there’s a little bit of support.
This was a wonderful event. There were a lot of great ideas for keeping drafts out of your home. Those inserts for the windows sound great.
People were glad to find out about:
WindowDressers. They’re booked for this year but we’re definitely doing it next year [points to daughter] and she’s going to volunteer.
Weatherstripping and help in paying bills. I’m recovering from cancer. I lost my job and I have no income. I don’t know how I’ll make it.
What Efficiency Vermont offers because we’re in that middle income where there isn’t usually help. I’ve never, ever applied for anything like that, but I need to get over it and get some help.
Energy tips and WindowDressers. We live in an old, old house and it’s full of drafts.
WindowDressers. We didn’t make it for this year but I’m going to install window film. I live in a 245-year-old house that is very cold, Being older, being a widow, being low income is hard. I’m glad this [the fair] is here.
Low-interest loans from Efficiency Vermont.
Light bulbs. [Holds up LED bulbs.] These are 9W, 800 lumens, 2500 hours, which is phenomenal. I need to have lights on. I can’t live in the dark just to save electricity. I have friends that don’t turn on the lights and I can’t live like that.
Hot water heat pumps and I also got to ask a question about why Washington Electric isn’t part of some incentives. They didn’t have the answer but said they would get back to me.
SEVCA. I thought I wasn’t eligible for any help and I learned I am.