Saugus selectman eyes oil bank

SAUGUS-Selectman Michael Kelleher has called on Town Manager Andrew Bisignani to establish a home heating fuel bank, which Bisignani said is not as easy as it sounds.Kelleher asked Bisignani last week to investigate the possibility of establishing the bank for emergency needs.”We’ll look into it,” Bisignani said. “We certainly want to do anything we can to help those residents in need.”That said, however, Bisignani said the problems with starting up a fuel bank is appropriating funds to purchase fuel to get it up and running. Then there is finding a place to store it, issuing it and managing it.Kelleher said he viewed the plan as being funded largely through donations and purchasing fuel during price dips throughout the year. The fuel could then be sold at a lower cost to individuals and families in need during the winter months when costs tend to skyrocket.Kelleher agreed a location and storage for the fuel bank would need to determined, and then the program would need to be administered, but he believes it is possible.”The strain on families is tremendous and many people resort to desperate measures such as burning wood in metal containers in their home or leaving the oven on overnight to stay warm,” he said. “It is far better for us to do the hard work of establishing the fuel bank then reacting after a tragedy or stand by and not react when we know people are missing meals or medications so they can heat their homes.”Kelleher hopes that between an upcoming forum, a relief fund he is helping to establish and the possibility of the fuel bank “many people and families will be spared the hardship of cold weather and high heating fuel costs.”

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