More than 300 brave frigid temps in Macon for heating assistance

Hundreds of people lined up again in frigid weather early Saturday outside St. Paul AME church on Shurling Drive to apply for heating assistance.

“There was lines,” said Lonnie Miley, board president of the Macon-Bibb Economic Opportunity Council. “But we encourage people not to come out and stand in the cold.

“But you know what, we can only encourage them but we can’t tell grown people what to do, and you know, people feel like they’re doing what they need to do to get their energy assistance,” he said.

About 230 of the more than 300 people who lined up Saturday were served, he said. More than 400 lined up for Thursday’s first round.

The EOC will be back at the church at 7 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday for the third and fourth rounds. The emphasis remains on serving the elderly, those 65 and older, and the disabled first.

“Our priority is certainly the elderly,” Miley said. “They have lived long enough to deserve to be served first.”

Those seeking assistance should bring valid identification, a Social Security card, proof of income -- if they have any income, including disability income -- and a copy of the bill desired to be paid.

Additional dates are expected to be scheduled.

The assistance program extends through November, December and generally into January with all needing assistance expected to be served, Miley said.

“Last year, we served a lot of people, and we didn’t have to turn anybody away,” he said. “But people have to be patient. Not everybody is going to get in on these first days.”

The EOC expects to distribute at least $500,000 this year in increments of about $300 after receiving $2 million last year.

Telegraph archives were used in this report. To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.