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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Rising inflation has everyone looking for ways to save and it’s a real problem for people on fixed incomes, especially veterans in need. That’s why Ameren Illinois is stepping in to help.
Ameren Illinois hosted a community outreach event on Thursday at the VFW in Urbana with one goal in mind: giving back. Community outreach events like these have helped more than 100 veterans, averaging about 20 people at each location across central Illinois.
Thursday’s event in Urbana was the last of six and has already saved veterans thousands of dollars.
“I’m not too busy,” said World War II veteran James Kelly. “I’d take more if they want to get rid of it.”
Kelly, who’s standing strong and healthy at 100 years old, was one of 15 veterans attending Ameren’s community outreach event. That focused on providing utility bill assistance to eligible veterans. This comes as utility bills jumped in recent days because of price hikes and warmer weather.
“We want to make sure we are maximizing all of our efforts to get in front of our customers to let them know about some of the ways they can save on their utility bill,” said Ameren’s Abby Helm
One of those ways is through Ameren Illinois’ Military Support Program energy grants, offering veterans up to 100 dollars to pay for utilities. Grants are limited to one per household.
Brad Gould, Superintendent of Veterans Assistance Commission of Champaign County, sayid every penny helps.
“With the prices of things today, any little bit helps, plus it’s honoring veterans for their service in the military,” Gould said.
The first 100 attendees got a free Ameren Illinois storm preparedness kit to help during severe weather. Additionally, customer service representatives were there answering questions and signing people up.
Helm said giving back to veterans is the best gift they can give.
“It’s important to give back especially to our veterans because they have given for us,” Helm said. “So it’s really important to let them know how much we appreciate that and how they have worked to sacrifice their lives to help us.”
In total, Ameren has offered about $7,000, helping more than 100 veterans across the area since they started hosting these events.
On Thursday alone, about 15 veterans benefited from the program. Helm also said Ameren is looking to get out in the community and create more outreach opportunities for customers. That doesn’t stop today. Helm says people can expect to see more Ameren representatives out in the community moving forward
Ameren Illinois said people can receive up to 100 dollars in help to pay the power bill if they qualify. People can learn more about this support program and check their eligibility online.