Nonprofit helps woman get much-needed A/C unit free of charge

CHARLOTTE — A nonprofit stepped up and helped a Charlotte woman get an air conditioning unit, which was something she desperately needed but couldn’t afford.

Victoria Combs moved her 95 year old mother into her home so that she could take care of her.

“The most important part for me, with her, was comfort -- that she was comfortable,” Combs said.

The A/C unit stopped working, and Combs didn’t have the money to get it fixed.

“They were about $10,000 for a new unit,” she said. “Because I did not have that, because a lot of my money went to helping my mom, making sure she had everything she needed.”

She soon learned about Blue Ridge Community Action, which is a nonprofit that offers free help to families in need to lower the cost of their energy bills, among many other services.

“We provide insulation, air sealing, weather stripping around windows and doors,” said Tara Vannoy, with Blue Ridge Community Action. “We also have the HARRP program that looks at the heating unit to see if it needs to be repaired or replaced.”

[Local nonprofit works with private sector to give families a home during COVID-19]

Combs filled out an application, and the agency made several upgrades to her home inside and outside.

Blue Ridge Community Action is working to extend services to more people.

“We are having an event on the 26th, 28th and 30th of October at the Children and Family Services building there in Charlotte to try to get more applicants,” Vannoy said.

You can sign up for an appointment by calling 704-248-3750.

Combs said the assistance made things much easier for her last year when her mother passed away.

She wants others, especially seniors, to know how to get this help.

“A lot of people don’t know what’s out there or understand the process to put it together,” Combs said. “(There are) a lot of services out there to help people in the community.”