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      Program offers assistance paying electric bill

      In her 60's, Olivia Sosa didn't imagine she would have to be choosing between paying her electric bill or paying for her medications, but she did find herself in that exact position.

      She was even worrying over how to pay for food when she was using the money she had to keep the electricity on in her Harlingen home.

      "It was very stressful," said Olivia.

      Luckily, she found the Cameron and Willacy County Community Projects and although a bit hesistant to stop in, she moved past her embarrassment of having to ask for help. Amalia Garza is the Executive Director of Cameron and Willacy County Community Projects and says the government funds are available for low income, elderly and residents who are handicap.

      "We have 18 intake centers across the 2 counties for utility assistance, weatherization, and just about any energy program," said Garza.

      She says the program has been around for 40 years, but just recently there has been a spike in people needing help with their electric bill. They serve over 7,000 families.

      Garza says the state of the economy and higher numbers of unemployed are to blame on people not able to make ends meet, but the program is providing.

      "Our grant award has been raised to 4 million dollars because of the need in this area," said Garza.

      Just a tiny piece of that is what Olivia needed to get by for a months when the temperatures skyrocketed sending her electricity bill higher than she could cover.

      It was the relief that came just in time.

      "I'm so thankful," said Olivia.

      If you would like to set up an appointment to find out if you are eligible, call (956) 544-6411.