Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tracking Down Free School Supplies in Toledo, 2015

It's that time of year, when people in need of school supplies for their kids but short on cash look for programs. The problem is that some programs are pretty sporadic or one-time. Worst of all, if you Google it (which is probably how you ended up here), you will get old stories from the local online newspaper, with a current date at the top! What to do?

You can call your local church or Salvation Army office to see if they know of a church or charity that is running a school supply program. Better yet, try your local 211 number or website.  If you can, search under "free school supplies" it's a United Way subject heading--and you will find a listing of organizations known to UW as givers in this particular field. For instance, I did this in the Toledo 211 website, and it lead to this link.  Or, if you are in Detroit or southeast Michigan, try Julie's List's rundown on free/cheap supplies, including computers.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Celebrate a Tax Holiday Near You

Ohio will have its first tax holiday ever the weekend of August 7-9, 2015. It will give sales tax exemptions for clothing and shoes under $75, as well as school supplies and instructional materials under $20. For more information, call 1 800 304 3211.

This will be a first time ever for Ohio, but other states have had them for years. Here's a list of all the sales tax holidays in various American states for 2015. As noted, many are created to give parents a break on school supplies and are timed accordingly. However, some in the south support the purchase of hurricane supplies, and the forward-thinking states of Georgia and Virginia also give a break on the purchase of Energy Star appliances.  Tennessee gives a break on computer purchases. Check on your state and go to the listed state websites for more detailed information on what is allowed, and what's not.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Free Refrigerators for Low Income Toledoans

If you are looking for energy cutting deals, the place to start is your local energy provider. They often do free or low cost energy audits, and may get you started with low cost energy saving bulbs or weatherproofing strips, for instance.
In Toledo, NeighborWorks, a local nonprofit providing help in housing and weatherization, is teaming up with First Energy to provide free Energy Star refrigerators to low income Toledo residents with energy sucking fridges. If you meet the income limits, they will test your refrigerator. If it uses three or more kilowatts over two hours, you can get a new refrigerator.
Those income levels are 200% of the poverty level--about $23,000 for a household of one,  $48,500 for a family of four. This is a limited offer. For more information, call NeighborWorks at 419 6912900.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Getting Assistance for the Donut Hole in Prescription Drugs

A big worry for people who are covered by part D prescription coverage is the dreaded donut hole--the part after initial coverage, that drops coverage, before the cost is covered again. Is there any assistance available for this cost? Sometimes, in some circumstances, there is.

By 2020, the Affordable Health Care Act will gradually erase the donut hole. Until then, some patient assistance programs set up by drugmakers to help uninsured and underinsured people will help with the donut hole. RxAssist has a page devoted to specific drug manufacturers and the drugs for which they will prove donut hole assistance.

The Patient Advocates Foundation also has a copay assistance fund for several potentially catastrophic illnesses. Check this list and see if you qualify, and apply online.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Historic Home Preservation Loans in Toledo, Cleveland Dirt Cheap

The Lucas County Land Bank, created to keep neighborhoods from sinking under the weight of delinquent and abandoned properties, has grown and flourished. Current programs include grants for new roofs for low-income homeowners (only through June 2015), chance to get side lots, land for gardens, and their newest cool thing.
The Heritage Home Program gives low-cost loans to homeowners with historic homes to restore their homes along historically appropriate lines. That means no aluminum siding and other stuff that messes up historic authenticity, but free consultation with experts, recommendations to qualified contractors, and loans as low as 3.5%.
In Cleveland, the Heritage Home Program offers similar help to owners of historic residences in the metropolitan Cleveland area. They offer help with consultants, low-cost loans, and even purchasing. If you love historic homes in these two towns, they awe worth a look.  If you live elsewhere, contact your local preservation society to find out if there is a similar organization near you.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Gowns for Stillborn and Other Infant Burial, and How Toledoans Can Help

Awhile back, we wrote about an organization, Heavenly Angels in Need, that made gowns for the burial of infants.  Just today, an article appeared in the Toledo Blade about a Toledo area organization, Gabriel's Gowns, that also creates infant shrouds from donated wedding dresses and donates them to local health organizations for the parents of stillborn children and infants who die shortly after birth. Toledoans who wish to donate their wedding gowns can drop them off at March of Dimes offices located at 3450 W, Central Ave. Suite 352 in Toledo Ohio.
Drop off times are Tuesdays from 1-6, and Thursdays from 8-12, or call them at 567-298-4825 to make an appointment.You can also see the website if you wish to volunteer to sew gowns.
For more sources of help when losing an infant, see this site.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Save Through a Credit Union, Hit the Lottery

While everybody who can count on their fingers knows that saving is a surer road to money than playing the lottery, the lure of the big score makes lotteries fat and savings slim. Often, savings institutions and their fees make savings an unattractive idea. But some credit unions in four states--Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina and Washington--are offering savers in their credit unions the chance to have their savings cake, and eat some lottery winnings.
Here's how it works: if you start an account, you get a chance to win a lottery held at least once a year. The more you save, the more chances you get to win. You. get another "ticket" with each $25 in savings. So the more you save, the better your chances of winning.
Where are unions? Right now, they are in those four states and can be found in this directory. But there may be more in the future, since federal laws are allowing more states to create laws that enable "save to win" accounts. See if a nearby credit union offers this option.