A special collection and outside donations will be gathered to fund the effort.

A special collection and outside donations will be gathered to fund the effort.

YOUNGSTOWN — Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Youngstown is calling upon Catholics and others of good will to support a special parish and community collection for winter utility assistance for families in need.

“Keep the Kids Warm” is a special second collection to take place during the Christmas season in parishes and in the community.

Funds collected through this special effort will be used by the Catholic Charities Agencies to provide direct assistance to families in need of winter utility assistance.

Local Catholic Charities Agencies in Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Stark and Trumbull Counties have collectively experienced a 25% increase in emergency assistance requests in recent months due to the national and local economic conditions. The majority of this increase consists of the need for help with utility payments.

Through the first three quarters of 2008, the Catholic Charities Agencies have provided utility assistance to 5,992 clients. Statistics for the last quarter of the year have not been finalized. After subsidized programs like HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) have been used, families will need support from organizations like Catholic Charities to get though the rest of the winter.

Donations to support Catholic Charities’ “Keep the Kids Warm” collection can be sent to: Catholic Charities, Keep the Kids Warm Collection, P. O. Box 614, Youngstown, Ohio 44501. Donations can also be made on the Catholic Charities’ website at www.catholiccharitiesyoungstown.org.

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