As temperatures fall, nonprofit helps keep families warm

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STAMFORD -

Operation Fuel, a nonprofit that helps people keep their homes heated throughout the winter, is getting busy before the holidays as temperatures drop and residents seek aid.

Statistics show more than 300,000 homes in Connecticut need help paying their heating bill every year.

Operation Fuel staff members say the phones have been ringing off the hook since Saturday, when the region got its first snowstorm of the season.

"Most people are on a fixed income, low income, can't afford toiletries -- let alone a heating bill, which can escalate up to $300 to $500 a month, especially in the winter months," says Janina Rodriguez, a coordinator for the nonprofit. "We get at least 294 calls a day or even more. More like 400 a day. That phone is constantly ringing, ringing, ringing."

Operation Fuel helps families pay their heating bills and also gives them tips on how to conserve energy and cut costs.

Beneficiaries like Melissa Coicou say their heating and electric bill top $300 a month during the winter, and the cost-cutting tips are useful.

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