A new partnership between El Paso Electric (EPE), the faith community of El Paso, and the El Paso Community Foundation (EPCF) wants to brighten the hearts of the utility’s customers who have been hit hardest by the pandemic through a newly developed fund.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, our teams at EPE have pursued every avenue possible in order to help our customers power through this difficult time and connect them to the financial resources they would need, like utility bill payment assistance,” said Eddie Gutierrez, EPE Vice President of Customer and Community Engagement.
“We know that the measure of our resilience is in the strength of our partnerships, which is why, when we were approached by Temple Mount Sinai to find a way to come together and help, we jumped at the opportunity. We stand alongside the faith community of El Paso, the El Paso Community Foundation, and each benefactor in our commitment to match these donations.”
Organizers share that Bright Hearts of El Paso Fund will help El Paso County residents who are behind on their electric bill payments. The fund will cover a portion of the down payment needed to set up a payment plan.
“Temple Mount Sinai brought the idea forward as a way to help those who are struggling in our community because of the pandemic,” Rabbi Ben Zeidman said. “When El Paso faces adversity, we come together to tackle it head-on. ‘El Paso Strong’ is more than just a slogan, it is who we are. It is a culture of supporting one another that makes El Paso so remarkable. We all hope that the Bright Hearts of El Paso Fund will provide some assistance to households who are struggling under the compounded weight of unpaid bills, joblessness, and illness.”
Through this effort, El Paso Electric will match every dollar donated to the Bright Hearts of El Paso Fund. The goal is to raise $500,000 before the match, or $1 million total. Donations may be made online.
“The Catholic Diocese, as part of the faith community of El Paso, is very happy to support and be part of this effort to help lend a hand to those struggling with their utility bills because they are impacted by the pandemic,” said Bishop Mark Seitz. “Helping those in need and facing hardship is an essential part of living out our faith, particularly in this border culture marked by solidarity.”
Currently, the electric company has more than 40,000 customers who are behind on their bills. Of those, 9,000 are behind on their bills by three months or more and could be at risk of service disconnection.
The Bright Hearts of El Paso fund will help those most in need stay connected — and on a path to manage their electric bill.
“This is the kind of work that we all need to gather around and do for people who are in dire need,” said Eric Pearson, President of the El Paso Community Foundation. “We are grateful for the opportunity to do our part.”
For questions about Bright Hearts of El Paso, call the El Paso Community Foundation at (915) 533-4020 or click here.