"Giving Tree" helps elderly Perryton residents pay heating bills

"Giving Tree" helps elderly Perryton residents pay heating bills

PERRYTON, TX - It's wintertime. It's cold. Naturally, heating bills are more expensive this time of year.

So expensive that some residents in Perryton struggle to keep up with their bills.

That's why the Giving Tree program was created by some office workers at Perryton City Hall about a decade ago.

"Older women would literally count out their dollars in pennies and change," said Karen Juarez, one of the program's creators. "I just thought there has to be a way we can make it easier for them."

The account numbers of people to struggle to pay their bills are hung up on a small Christmas tree in City Hall.

Residents can pick a number off the tree and anonymously donate however much they want to help these people out.

Don Jennings, Director of Finance for the City of Perryton, said they try to pick people that do not have family to help them.

"We concentrate on the elderly that are alone, or older couples with a serious illness in the family," said Jennings.

Juarez and Jennings said they have witnessed so many people just astounded by the kindness of their fellow citizens.

The Giving Tree will stay up through January, and the city has already recorded nearly $13,000 in donations.

Jennings said this program will remain for many years to come.

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