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MASSACHUSETTS GOOD NEIGHBOR ENERGY FUND KICKS OFF ITS 2013-14 "GIVE THE GIFT OF WARMTH CAMPAIGN

Goal is to raise $550,000 and assist more than 2,000 households.

CANTON, MA, January 8, 2014 -- The Massachusetts Good Neighbor Energy Fund announces that it officially kicked off its 29th Annual "Give the Gift of Warmth" campaign at a breakfast held today at The Salvation Army's state headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts. A cooperative effort between the state's energy companies, their customers and its administrator, The Salvation Army, the Good Neighbor Energy Fund helps families in temporary crisis who do not qualify for federal or state assistance with the payment of their energy expenses. The campaign's goal is to raise $550,000 and help more than 2,000 households. The Fund will reopen to qualified candidates beginning on Monday, February 3rd.

"Each year we see firsthand the difference the Fund makes in the lives of thousands of families in need across the state," said Major David Kelly, Divisional Leader of The Salvation Army of Massachusetts. "The Salvation Army appreciates the opportunity to administer the Fund and partner with the sponsoring energy companies to help those in crisis find warmth during this winter season." Kelly also thanked all twenty-five energy sponsors, their customers and the corporate community for raising more than $18.8 million and assisting over 82,000 households since the Fund's inception in 1985.

Stephen H. Bryant, President of Fund sponsor, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, challenged the audience at the kick-off by saying, "Let's continue to raise the bar and make a difference in the lives of families in need of energy assistance across the Commonwealth by surpassing our fundraising goal of $550,000."

Massachusetts residents who wish to support the Fund can "Give the Gift of Warmth" by using the green-colored Good Neighbor Energy Fund donation envelope found as an insert in monthly energy bills or through the 'add a dollar' program some energy companies offer which allows customers to contribute on their monthly bill payment by one dollar or more. Customers can also donate with a credit card on-line by visiting www.magoodneighbor.org and checking the appropriate box or by calling 1-800- SAL-ARMY. Or, donors can simply mail a check payable to "The Good Neighbor Energy Fund" and send it to The Salvation Army, 25 Shawmut Road, Canton, Massachusetts 02021. Participating energy companies support their respective customers' generosity through various giving programs.

The Fund is often the last resort for families who do not qualify for federal and state assistance programs. To qualify for assistance from the Fund, an applicant's gross household income must fall between 60 and 80 percent of the state's median income levels. For example, a household size of 2 would need to have a total gross yearly income of between $41,932 and $55,908 to qualify. A household of 4 would need to have a yearly gross income of between $61,664 and $82,218 to qualify, etc. This year's Fund disbursement is $250 per eligible household per heating season.

For more information on the Fund and how to apply, visit your local Salvation Army Service Center or call (800) 262-1320 if you live in area code 413 or (800) 334-3047 if you live in area codes 508, 617, 781 or 978. Web: www.magoodneighbor.org.