Summer has officially arrived and the temperatures are heating up. For some, it's tough to keep cool and keep the lights on.
There are several agencies in the Nashville area that offer energy assistance to those who need it.
The Metro Action Commission, or MAC, helps an estimated 13,000 families per year with utilities, rent and mortgage payments and even prescriptions.
During the summer months, MAC also provides fans and air conditioners.
Assistance is based on income and provided one time per year per family.
The goal is to provide a hand up, not a hand out.
"We're here for families that are right there on the edge," said MAC Spokesperson Lisa McCrady. "They may be able to cover their bills, but it may be a struggle for them. What this fund does is it alleviates them from at least this one bill so they can cover the other bills, so they won't have to struggle in some other areas."
MAC provides assistance year-round, with a fiscal calendar of July 1 to June 30.
Typically, funds run out before the end of the year, but a mild winter has given the agency a boost.
Money is still available to help individuals and families in the last few weeks of June, before the start of the new fiscal year and additional federal funding.
Because MAC operates on federal dollars, the agency cannot accept donations. However, another local program offers a give-and-take approach to energy assistance.
NeedLink Nashville, formerly Big Brothers of Nashville, also provides energy assistance year-round. Money is collected from donors through Nashville Electric Service and Project Help.
Energy customers can add a dollar or more to monthly bills to help those in need. The extra bucks can make a big difference for the elderly, disabled or families facing utility cut-off due to emergency circumstances.
The requirements for both programs are essentially the same. Applicants must have identification, a copy of the currently due bill, proof of income and social security cards for every family member in the household.
To apply for assistance with Metro Action Commission, visits the agency's new location at 800 Second Avenue North in the Clifford Allen building. The office is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
To apply for assistance with NeedLink Nashville, go to 295 Plus Park Boulevard, Suite 106, off Murfreesboro Road near Interstate 24. The office is open Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
To donate to Project Help and NeedLink Nashville, call Nashville Electric Service or visit NESPower.com.