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Back to Basics Ministries will host expo that includes food drive and community agency experts who will offer services and programs for those who need them the most
Submitted by National Grid
As part of National Grid’s ongoing commitment to helping customers manage energy costs this winter – especially those facing financial hardships exacerbated by the blizzard – a community resources event for low- to moderate-income customers will be held Jan. 26, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion, located at 1100 Jefferson Ave., in Buffalo.
The event will be hosted by Back to Basics Outreach Ministries, which responds to emergencies in Buffalo’s Black and African American communities by organizing local nonprofits to provide direct services to those in need. Back to Basics has been helping to stabilize area communities most affected by the December storm. In addition to food distribution, the event will feature National Grid consumer advocates and experts from more than a dozen local organizations who will offer assistance and resources to those most in need.
“National Grid has been a major partner with Back to Basics and Peacemakers in response to the blizzard,” said Pastor James Giles, founder of Back to Basics Ministries. “Beyond the restoration of power, they provided food and necessity items to those communities that were impacted by store closings. We appreciate immensely the level of care this utility company has shown and is showing.”
As part of the event, Pastor Giles will lead a food drive, including the distribution of 500 bags of groceries donated by National Grid and coordinated by FeedMore WNY. National Grid’s community assistance experts will answer questions, discuss assistance programs, and explain the company’s payment options.
“We knew during the blizzard that our work in the community would need to extend beyond restoring electricity service,” said National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa. “Our continued outreach, including events like this, will help our customers who need it the most, and allows us to fulfill that promise.”
Caring for local communities, compassionately addressing challenges customers face and collaborating with community partners are guiding principles of National Grid’s “Project C” initiative, which seeks to transform communities and ensure an equitable future for all customers.
In addition to National Grid and Back to Basics, other organizations scheduled to attend the event include:
Late Payment Fees Waived for Western New York Customers
National Grid customers who have experienced hardships as a result of the storm will have late payment fees waived by the company for bills with due dates between Dec. 23, 2022, and Feb. 20, 2023. Customers looking to take advantage of this program or establish a payment plan should call 1-800-443-1837. The company also offers flexible payment options and other bill solutions through its winter customer savings initiative.
On Jan. 12, National Grid provided $500,000 to support Western New York individuals and families who continue to recover from the blizzard. The funding, provided by the company’s shareholders, will be used by regional charitable organizations to directly benefit those impacted by the storm, and establish programs to support resilience during future emergencies.
In November, to further assist customers struggling to pay winter bills, National Grid shareholders provided $6 million in funding to establish the first targeted assistance programs for low- to-moderate income customers in New York. The new programs – the Hope & Warmth Energy Fund and Hearts Fighting Hunger emergency food assistance – will help families who are experiencing financial hardships, but just miss qualifying for the federally funded Home Energy Assistance Program. The funding also will be used to increase the company’s contributions to its existing Care & Share program.