We got a letter last week from a woman who is now saving more than $1,000 a year, the result of an article she read here – and taking the time to make a phone call.

She discovered there were programs she qualified for, and she could access them. Sometimes, all it takes is a phone call, but making that call is difficult. None of us wants to ask for help, and I never think of these calls as asking for help. Rather, it’s a call to get information and that information could make life a little easier. So even if you don’t need help, share this information with someone who may need a boost.

Call Opportunity Alliance, formerly known as PROP, to find out if you are eligible for fuel assistance (LIHEAP) and other ways to save. The number is 553-5900 or 800-698-4959

For those who pay an insurance premium each month for prescription drugs, you’ve still got a week to find out if you can save money or improve your coverage. One of those pills you pay hundreds of dollars for (even with insurance) may be covered under a different insurance.

Call Southern Maine Agency on Aging at 396-6500 or 800-427-7411 for more information about an appointment near you to get the help available to save on insurance, as well as tax and rent rebates and much more. Ask about the “Quimby” program which could save around $100 a month. If you have Internet access, visit www.smaaa.org for lots of additional help and benefits available.

Going to meet friends for breakfast? When you’re at one of our local restaurants, even the drive-through places and coffee shops, check and see if they offer a senior special or discount. People in the business of selling want to capture every market – and senior citizens represent one of the prime markets, since many prefer shopping locally and spending wisely. I was really surprised one day when, talking with my cable television provider and complaining about the cost, I suggested they have a special price for seniors since for many seniors, cable TV is really appreciated. The representative for the company said they did have several different plans – one was very low priced. So it does pay to ask.

If you have a computer and access to the Internet, there are some websites – places to investigate, just to see what’s new for seniors. In the space offered by Google, type in Maine.gov, or Maine Senior Guide or just “Maine seniors” and you’ll find a long list of websites offering services to seniors.

We are trying to compile a list of food pantries in Cumberland and York counties. The Internet lists many, many pages of resources, but some of them have not been updated for months. Readers can help by emailing me or drop me a note, giving the name, location, days open and who to call – or other information you are aware of. My email is [email protected], and address is Kay Soldier, 114 Tandberg Trail, Windham, ME 04062. These resources will be very valuable to many, as winter creeps along, getting colder and colder and some folks will be choosing between fuel and food.

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