MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – That jingling sound we all heard around the holidays had only been silent for about a month. But there is a rare opportunity to help hundreds of families that the Salvation Army said they just couldn’t pass up.

Centerpoint Energy pledges to triple every donation given to the Salvation Army on Saturday. Annette Bauer says her organization has no problem breaking out the iconic red kettles for a rare occasion of this calibre.

In just six hours, they attempted to raise as much money as possible to help families heat their homes via the HeatShare program.

“[HeatShare] provides heat for the seniors, disabled, families in crisis. We never have enough of those funds to go around,” Bauer said.

Gary Gaines is a HeatShare recipient, and says the help has made a big financial difference.

“My bills [are] maybe like $200, $250 a month now,” Gaines said.

The Salvation Army helped Gaines pay his bills last year.

“It was pretty bad that winter, so I was running into a lot, you know, to keep the house warm. So my bill was up there. They pledged a pretty nice sum,” he said.

He was one of 40,000 people who applied for HeatShare’s help. The Salvation Army had the funding to help out 4,200 people.

“The burden, it was uplifted,” said Gaines.

With this one day of fundraising, up to 300 additional families could get assistance.

HeatShare is funded by utility customers that donate to the program. Centerpoint Energy pledged to give up to $30,000 to help heat people’s homes.


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