BY RICK KAZMER
United Way of the Laurel Highlands
The falling snow on May 2 was a fitting background as United Way of the Laurel Highlands and Smith Propane and Oil representatives celebrated a three-year partnership that has resulted in $10,500 in home heating assistance for community members.
For the third year, Smith Propane has made a $3,500 donation to utility assistance programs.
In Somerset County during the 2021-22 season, funding from Operation Warm Hearts helped 32 individuals and families.
In 2022, the United Way’s PA 2-1-1 call center helped more than 3,000 people find resources for basic human needs in Cambria and Somerset Counties. Locally, more than 2,000 referrals were for people seeking help to keep the heat, power or gas on.
“It’s ... the simple fact that we want to be a part of the community. I think that starts with trying to help people in the community,” Smith Propane Manager Zac Cromie said at the company’s Windber location.
It’s crucial support as residents grapple with rising costs.
The extended winter-like conditions this spring highlights the mixed weather Cambria and Somerset Counties experience. Reliable home heating is a need for everyone.
“We greatly appreciate the support from the Smith Propane team,” United Way Community Relationship Manager Rick Kazmer said. “It’s part of the way that we work with businesses in the community as a united front for the greater good.”