WHAT IS HAND UP?
The Heisse Johnson Hand Up Fund is a program to underwrite at least a portion of the utility bills for deserving families and individuals that might otherwise face the loss of serivce in their homes because of insufficient means.
In 1989, through the vision of the Rev. Dr. Heisse Johnson, the Hand Up Fund became a reality. The success of this program was enhanced by BrightRidge, Atmos Energy, and as of June 2013 the Jonesborough Water Department, allowing customers to designate specific amounts on their utility bills for the Hand Up Fund.
IN HONOR OF DR. HEISSE JOHNSON
THIS PROGRAM WAS DESIGNATED AS “THE HEISSE JOHNSON HAND UP FUND”
HOW ARE FUNDS ADMINISTERED?
Designated gifts from generous customers of BrightRidge, Atmos Energy, and the Jonesborough Water Department are forwarded to the United Way of East TN Highlands. Money donated to the HAND UP FUND goes directly to aid people in our community.
The United Way of East TN Highlands agrees to accept the contributions through the utility companies or direct donation and deposit them in an account to be used solely for HAND UP.
HOW ARE THE FUNDS DISPENSED?
Those needing HAND UP assistance receive aid through The Salvation Army of Johnson City and Good Samaritan Ministries, who screen prospects for eligibility and forwards to the United Way of Washington, TN which administers the fund and pays the bills.
In addition to electrical bills, funds are used to purchase oil, kerosene, propane, wood, and coal. Funds are also available for water/sewer through the Jonesborough Water Department. A person may receive assistance up to $250.00 during the year. Any medical emergencies and overrides must be cleared by the HAND UP Chairperson or Vice Chairperson. Hand Up also assists elderly neighbors with help year-round with their utility bills through the Options Outreach Program of The First Tennessee Development District.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE HISTORY OF HAND UP?
At its inception in 1989, this program (formerly the Keeping Warm Program) served 135 clients and dispensed $7,038.51. Through the generosity of the BrightRidge and Atmos Energy customers and direct contributors, this program has expanded significantly. In the last 9 years, HAND UP aided an average of 8,573 clients and dispensed $595,769.08 ($66,196.56 annually).
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
HAND UP depends upon caring individuals for its support. Through BrightRidge, Atmos Energy and the Jonesborough Water Department you can designate a monthly amount on your electric or gas bill. This designated amount will be included on your bill from your utility company, and upon receipt of payment, this designated sum is forwarded to the United Way of East TN Highlands for the HAND UP FUND.
One can make an individual gift to HAND UP by a donation to:
Heisse Johnson Hand Up Fund
PO Box 4039
Johnson City, TN 37602
The HAND UP COMMITTEE extends THANKS to these agencies and individuals who together have made this program viable.