The Gifting Tree Foundation is presenting $5000 to Area Churches Together Serving (ACTS), Aiken, SC in support of their Utility Assistance Program for families in need.
It was a cold afternoon in November 2019 when Board Members of the Gifting Tree Foundation gathered outside of the Area Churches Together Serving (ACTS) office to present a $5000 check. It served as a chilling reminder of the difficulties faced by families and individuals who can’t afford to properly heat their homes.
The donated funds will be used to provide electric space heaters and utility assistance through the ACTS’ Utility Assistance Program. Don Cheeks, Gifting Tree Foundation Board Chair said, “We have great admiration for all of the work done by ACTS. Our gift is to help alleviate the health and safety risks associated with extreme, cold temperatures. We know seniors and families with children are especially at-risk and we wanted to help.”
ACTS Executive Director, Suzanne Jackson said, “The ACTS’ Utility Assistance Program was first created to assist clients struggling to pay higher utility bills during the coldest months of the year. We are very grateful to the Gifting Tree Foundation for their willingness to help those living in homes without adequate heat.”
ACTS plans to distribute a total of 250 heaters and to serve 275 families over the next four months through the Utility Assistance Program. Jackson further explained, “This is the most expensive program we offer. Having heaters available for our clients during the winter months helps to provide supplemental heat in homes, where there is insufficient insulation. This is truly a life-saving action. This donation is vital to meeting our goal.”
ACTS serves a designated area of Aiken County where 21% of the population lives below the poverty level. According to Jackson, children are extremely vulnerable. She said between a third to one-half of clients living below the poverty level in our area are children under the age of 18.
The Gifting Tree Foundation is a nonprofit organization formed by a group of concerned citizens who have raised funds to directly assist people in need and to support other local charities. Cheeks said, “By partnering with ACTS, we feel confident the funds we have given will have a positive impact.”