H.O.P.E. Blog

Energy Assistance Programs

Energy Assistance for Residents Who QualifyThe Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission offers assistance with heat to people who qualify. Below are some of the programs offered. For details, you can go to the website at www.puc.state.pa.

Budget Billing—All residential customers may contact their electric or natural gas company and request budget billing at any time. Each monthly bill will be the same amount. The company may adjust the bill four times a year, up or down, depending on the customer’s usage.

Customer Assistance Program (CAPS)—Can lower your monthly utility bill and may also remove the amount already owed. The company works with the customer to determine what the customer can pay versus the cost of energy used.

Customer Assistance Referral and Evaluation Program (CARES)— Helps customers with special needs such as family emergencies, divorce, unemployment, or medical emergencies.

Low Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP)—Helps low-income residential customers lower the amount of electricity or natural gas used each month. This could include the installation of energy-saving features in the home to reduce bills.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)—Federal program that provides financial assistance to needy households for home energy bills.

Hardship Funds—Provide payments directly to utility companies on behalf of eligible customers.

This article is reprinted from H.O.P.E. Lifeline (January, 2017) - monthly newsletter distributed by H.O.P.E. Click here to view the full newsletter.  If you would like to receive the newsletter by e-mail each month, you may subscribe today (no cost or obligation and you may unsubscribe at any time).


 

Simple Tips for the New Year

Tips to make your life better in 2017Happy New Year!!

As we leave 2016 behind and look toward the new year, we'd all like to start with a clean slate.  The following are tips to get started on the right foot.

  • Believe that anything is possible.
  • Start each day with goals.
  • Eat more real food.
  • Buy good books and make time to read them.
  • Drink water.
  • Exercise daily even when it sounds like a terrible idea.
  • Shop for quality, not quantity.
  • Purge the unnecessary and decrease the clutter.
  • Hug the ones you love.
  • Find the best in others.
  • Show others the best in yourself.
  • Choose to make virtue a habit.

This article is reprinted from H.O.P.E. Lifeline (January, 2017) - monthly newsletter distributed by H.O.P.E. Click here to view the full newsletter.  If you would like to receive the newsletter by e-mail each month, you may subscribe today (no cost or obligation and you may unsubscribe at any time).


 

Keep Fidgeting Folks!

fidgeting keeps your circulation moving - leads to better healthBy: Jean Lilquist

Did your parents ever tell you to stop fidgeting? Do you ever say that to your own children? Well, in addition to the studies that showed that people who fidget are leaner and more fit, new research shows that an inability to sit still can help you live longer.

Studies published in several medical journals report the same thing: that the negative effects of sitting for long periods of time can be offset by shifting, shaking, or moving in your seat. Researchers in the UK categorized thousands of women as low, middle, or high frequency fidgeters. They found that sitting for long periods of time (defined as seven hours or more) was associated with a 30 percent rise in mortality only for those who fidgeted at a low frequency.

A study published in the American Journal of Physiology Heart and Circulatory Physiology reported on a test done on 11 healthy college students who were instructed to sit for three hours in front of a desk, keeping one leg perfectly still while moving the other leg (specifically they were to tap their heel against the ground for one minute and then stay still for four). The blood flow through a major artery in their legs was measured before the test began, and over the course of the test researchers discovered that in the stationary leg the blood flow declined steeply while in the other leg it rose. The most startling discovery came at the end when they compared the test results to the original measures, and found that the blood vessel in the stationary leg no longer worked as well as it had when it was first measured.

This article is reprinted from H.O.P.E. Lifeline (January, 2017) - monthly newsletter distributed by H.O.P.E. Click here to view the full newsletter.  If you would like to receive the newsletter by e-mail each month, you may subscribe today (no cost or obligation and you may unsubscribe at any time).


 

The Most Preventable Cancers That People Are Not Preventing

Most preventable cancers related to HPVBy: Jean Lilquist

You may remember when actor Michael Douglas announced he had developed throat cancer in 2013. The photographs of his gaunt face were haunting. But did you know that kids today shouldn’t ever have to worry about getting that cancer? Or any cancers of the mouth, tongue, or throat? Girls shouldn’t need to worry about cervical cancer; boys can rest easier about penis cancer.

The magical elixir?

The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine. For a decade this vaccine has been available for both girls and boys, yet too few kids have had it. Originally it required a series of three vaccinations, but that is now just two. Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 14 million people become newly infected each year with the cancer-causing forms of HPV? Did you know that there is an epidemic of HPV-related cancers in men, specifically those of the tonsil and the back of the tongue? And did you know that the HPV vaccine works—infections with the human papillomavirus tied to cervical cancer fell by more than half in U.S. teen girls after the HPV vaccine was introduced in 2006. And that is despite the relatively low rate of preteen girls who got the vaccine.

More than two thirds of healthy Americans have some form of the human papillomavirus, although most of these are benign. In fact, there are 109 known different types. They commonly cause warts and other lesions, but two in particular, HPV 16 and HPV 18, cause cancers of the cervix, anus, and penis, as well as mouth and throat. Types 6 and 11 can cause lesions and genital warts. Gardasil, the only vaccine now in production, protects against those four plus five other forms of the virus.

The vaccine should be fully covered by health insurance, so cost is not an issue. Neither is safety – the CDC says after 67 million vaccinations have been given, there is so sign of any serious side effects. The main side effect is fainting – something common in teens getting any vaccine, so they’re advised to rest for 15 minutes before leaving the clinic or office where they got the shot.

This article is reprinted from H.O.P.E. Lifeline (January, 2017) - monthly newsletter distributed by H.O.P.E. Click here to view the full newsletter.  If you would like to receive the newsletter by e-mail each month, you may subscribe today (no cost or obligation and you may unsubscribe at any time).


 

A Look Backward and Forward

By Barbara Titanish

A Look Backward and Forward for H.O.P.E.A few years ago I discovered Suzy Toronto’s writings, so I decided to use a few of Suzy’s “Wonderful Wacky Words of Wisdom” to look back on 2016 and earlier and forward to 2017.

REACH OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE. Years ago when Jen mentioned starting something that has become H.O.P.E., that was definitely outside my comfort zone. I didn’t have the confidence it took to organize this but because of the encouragement and assistance from so many, H.O.P.E. is here. And beyond anything Jen and I could have visualized. If we hadn’t reached outside our comfort zones the thousands of patients we’ve served over the years would not have had their lives helped in so many ways.

COLOR OUTSIDE THE LINES. We at H.O.P.E. think outside the box by helping not just the patient but the entire family. Because cancer affects the entire family. We try to help with every family member’s needs, the most basic of which is food. Our pantry is overflowing with not just canned goods but frozen meats and dinners prepared by volunteers, as well as paper goods and hygiene products. These are available to families even after they no longer need our cancer services. Kids Under Construction is a group for children who are living with a cancer patient; through this we bring together vulnerable kids who can relate to and have fun with others in their position.

READ GOOD BOOKS. When people are diagnosed with cancer they often feel as if their power is taken away. One of the first things we did at H.O.P.E. was establish a library to help give the power back to the patients, because knowledge is power. We have a wonderful, up-to-date series 100 Questions and Answers About Cancer that helps the patients understand their cancer and know what to ask. But that’s just the tip of our library iceberg. We have books that are humorous, books that provide inspiration, books for young children, even books for teens.

BELIEVE THAT YOUR FUTURE DOES NOT LIE AHEAD OF YOU; IT LIES DEEP INSIDE OF YOU.  So many patients say they just can’t handle this. However, when they reach deep inside they realize just how strong they are. We are here to help them find that strength and courage through the support we give. Appearance is fundamental, and we help women get confidence in their appearance through hats, wigs, and scarves. Our various support groups provide a safe forum where our patients can learn from speakers and share their own frustrations and successes. Our volunteers will always take time out to listen and offer words of encouragement when a patient drops by the office just looking for someone to listen.

STAY FOCUSED….YOU ONLY SEE OBSTACLES WHEN YOU TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE GOAL.  We help take away many of our families’ day-to-day worries with the use of the pantry, gifts of gas and grocery cards, even transportation to and from appointments. We take care of back-to-school shopping for the students; this past year we provided filled book bags for more than 70 kids, gave each one $75 for clothes, and provided foods for breakfast and lunch. Thanksgiving dinner is on us, the turkey and all the trimmings, and we fulfill children’s specific Christmas wishes—this year 143 families received gifts galore.

DEVELOP AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE.   H.O.P.E. would not be here if it were not for the thousands of wonderful volunteers, donors, and supporters who have assisted in all our fundraising events like bingos, bull roasts, back-to-school and Christmas drives, pantry donations, golf tournaments, and other special events over the past 22 years. They are the gift that keeps on giving.

MAKE YOUR LIFE AND ACTIONS A STORY WORTH TELLING. Twelve years ago we developed our spring gala, Voices for Hope, so we could do just that. Through the Scott Brown Seeds of Hope Award we celebrate a person in our community who has made a huge contribution to our organization and patients. The Voices event brings together many of our H.O.P.E. family in an evening of wonderful food and inspiring words.

ALWAYS BELIEVE THAT SOMETHING FABULOUSLY AMAZING IS GOING TO HAPPEN.  For years I have talked about the dream of a vacation from cancer retreat. Well folks, we signed a contract this past year for 49 acres of land. Despite the naysayers who said they didn’t see the need we continued to dream, and after years of searching we were shown the perfect place, practically in our backyard. So look out 2017, H.O.P.E. is going to get even bigger and better.

This article is reprinted from H.O.P.E. Lifeline (January, 2017) - monthly newsletter distributed by H.O.P.E. Click here to view the full newsletter.  If you would like to receive the newsletter by e-mail each month, you may subscribe today (no cost or obligation and you may unsubscribe at any time).

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