A fund drive that will help low-income residents stave off cold winter weather is about to kick off.
Warm Hearts organizers met Tuesday to put finishing touches on a mailer scheduled to go out next week to Douglas County residents.
Ernesto Hodison, Warm Hearts treasurer, said the organization hoped to raise $55,000 to $60,000 this year to help local residents pay their heating bills. Last year, Warm Hearts raised about $51,000 and helped 228 families.
"Since I've been involved, we've had just wonderful response," said Hodison, who is working on his third campaign. "I don't remember a down year since I've been involved, with the support. It's really been something amazing to me."
Hodison said the drive would last several months and the organization would provide assistance until April.
The 13-year-old organization provides money for fuel bills to residents who are a certain percentage below the poverty level, have received a shut-off notice from the utility company and made an effort to pay their bills.
Eligibility varies according to family size. A family of two must make less than $1,547 a month, while the monthly income for a five-member family must not exceed $2,735.
Residents may apply for Warm Hearts assistance after Jan. 1 at the Ballard Community Center, Penn House, Salvation Army, Lawrence Indian Center, ECKAN, Help Connection in Eudora and Douglas County Senior Services.
Donations may be sent to Warm Hearts, P.O. Box 1555, Lawrence 66044.