Nicor Gas is committing an additional $5 million to The Salvation Army’s Shield of Caring program to support customers struggling to pay their monthly natural gas bill or needing assistance with other basic necessities.
Starting Jan. 16, qualifying Nicor Gas residential customers can apply online for a Shield of Caring grant at www.shieldofcaring.com or by calling their local Salvation Army corps community center. The program is dedicated to assisting families that are past-due on their monthly natural gas bill and have a financial hardship such as a job loss, illness, military deployment, disability or other circumstance.
Customers with a household gross income in the last 30 days below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level may be eligible to receive a grant of up to $250 per program year to apply to their past-due Nicor Gas account balances.
Additionally, residential customers who are eligible to receive assistance grants from other programs, such as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or the Sharing Program, should apply for a grant from these programs first to maximize their benefits.
Customers who still have a past-due account balance after receiving assistance from those programs may be eligible to receive a grant under the Shield of Caring Program.
In 2021, Nicor Gas contributed $5 million through a shareholder contribution to The Salvation Army to help those still impacted by the global health and financial crises. During the first program year, the charitable organization distributed $1.75 million in grants to support 8,000 customers with bill payment assistance and 9,500 families received basic needs support including warm winter coats, food boxes and emergency disaster services.
“We know that the past few years have been an extremely challenging time for our customers and the communities we serve,” Meena Beyers, vice president of business and community development at Nicor Gas, said in a statement. “As the largest natural gas provider in Illinois, we are committed to helping our neighbors receive the relief and assistance they need during these cold winter months, while keeping their homes warm all season long.”
Since 1983, Nicor Gas has supported The Salvation Army through its Sharing Program that offers bill payment assistance to eligible residential customers in need. The Sharing Program continues to operate as it has for nearly 40 years, with one-time annual grants of up to $500 for income-eligible residential customers.