Friday, August 28, 2020

Anniversary Reflection

I started my adventure with Dove in the Homeward Bound Program as the Employment and Life Skills Specialist. After my first year, I had the opportunity to advance to Dove’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program as the newest Program Director. My title and job here at Dove continues to evolve. I am now known as the RSVP-SCP Program Director. Dove’s latest services, the Senior Companion Program, offers unique challenges and the ability to help more people in the community we serve with amazing volunteers’ dedicated help. It is an honor that I am a part of this fantastic organization.  Our RSVP and Dove volunteers are the best volunteers; their hearts are as golden as Dove’s 50th anniversary.

As I reflect on Dove’s anniversary, I cannot help but think of the first persons and churches involved in starting Dove so many years ago. Did they envision Dove’s growth? Or how vital Dove services would be to so many different people in our community? Did they think that Dove would have a reach into five counties? The impact Dove has made in the lives of so many is incredible. The fact that Dove is still growing and changing with times is a powerful testimony to the community and people served. Programming has changed from those first years as Dove faces different challenges. They work hard to expand and change the programming to address community issues relevant to today. Honoring yesterday is easy, growing into the future takes talent, vision, and many dedicated volunteers and staff.

September is my favorite month since it is traditionally the month the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program holds the annual RSVP Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. A time where the staff helps celebrate our dedicated volunteers for their hours of service with a luncheon complete with pie, prizes, and the Recognition of Service Excellence R.O.S.E. Awards. This year, our 44th, we had to get creative to celebrate the 300 plus volunteers and are doing so in uniquely different ways but excited to honor all their hard work.

 Dove was needed then, is vital now, and will continue to serve our mission as we carry forward into the next 50 years.

Charlie Gillaspie

Friday, August 7, 2020

30 year history with Warm Neighbors Fund

Ameren's Warm Neighbors Cool Friends
Dove has served as the service site for WNCF for 30 years.  Below, please see the updated information about WNCF program and their new initiative,  Fresh Start Program.

WNCF services are provided at the DFA Sites for Macon and DeWitt Counties

Macon County: Located inside Northeast Community Fund, 839 N. MLK Jr. Dr., DecaturHours:   Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.  & Monday - Thursday, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

DeWitt County:  Dove DeWitt County Office, 803 W. Leander, ClintonHours:  2nd and 4th Tuesdays mornings, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Warm Neighbors Cool Friends
  • Applicant can receive WNCF assistance only once per heating season, which is 10/1 to 5/31 each year and once per cooling season, 6/1 to 9/30.
  • WNCF matches customer payments (within the last 45 days) up to $350 during heating season and up to $200 during cooling season
  • Fresh Start grants should not be used for matching payments
  • Heating grants are based solely on income guide-lines while cooling grants are intended for seniors, disabled or those with medical conditions exacerbated by heat (with a doctor's letter)
  • WNCF pledge may create a credit balance

Ameren Illinois Fresh Start
  • Applicant can receive only one Fresh Start Electric Pledge and one Fresh Start Gas Pledge during program term (7/9/20 – 5/31/21 or until funds are depleted)
  • Eligible applicants can receive up to a $200 grant for ELECTRIC account and up to $150 for GAS account
  • No matching customer payment is required
  • Fresh Start Funds are available to customers in the 0-200% federal poverty range only if they are ineligible for LIHEAP funds (as is the case with customers with no Social Security number)
  • Customer must have a past due balance to qualify and pledges must not create a credit balance
Both Programs require:
  • Driver's License or other Photo I.D. and Copy of current Ameren Illinois utility bill
  • Applicant must reside at the address on the bill and have active service in his or her name
  • Income eligibility, see guidelines below

Must show proof of 30 Day (GROSS) Income Must be Between
Family Size     200%              350%
    1                  $2,127          $3,722
    2                  $2,873          $5,028
    3                  $3,620          $6,336
    4                  $4,367         $7,642
    5                  $5,113         $8,948
    6                  $5,860         $10,256
    7                  $6,607         $11,562
    8                  $7,353         $12,868

Dove Financial Assistance Program was renamed from MAX in 2020 to reflect service to 5 counties, where as MAX stood for Macon County Assistance eXchange.  Below is copy from the November 1990 DoveTales newsletter sharing the news that MAX was selected to be a part of this Ameren.  Sound like both programs have grown in the 30 years!

"MAX selected to distribute winter funds

Our MAX program has been chosen to distribute "Warm Neighbors Fund" utility assistance payments to families in need.

The Warm Neighbors Fund is operated by the Energy Assistance Foundation, an offshoot of Illinois Power Company.  Money is contributed into this fund from IP consumers, and matched  the company.

Funds are used to help pay energy costs for fixed-income households.  IP selected one agency in each of its services acres to screen applications and distribute assistance payments.

MAX (the Macon Assistance eXchange) was organized by Dove several years ago to coordinate the efforts of churches and social agencies in meeting emergency financial needs...."

To learn more about DFA, please see our website at or to contact DFA directly, please email

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