(WXIA) -- Some low-income families struggle topay their heating bills over the winter.

There are agencies to help those who qualify, but many of them are very busy this week so they're asking residents to be patient.
The Non Profit Organization Heating EnergyAssistance Team (H.E.A.T) says call volume has doubledin the past four days. It urges callers who receive a busy signal to keep trying.

HeatGa.orgdistributes funds to local Community Action Agencies for disbursment to familes who meet income requirements. spokeswoman saidthose who are facing a utility shut off should first call their gas or heating company to notify them you are having trouble paying your bill. Oftentimes, companies will work with their customers to give them extra time or spread out payments.

TheSalvation Army also has utility assistance available. Residents in need must make an appointment with their local service center. Most centers are now taking appointments for next week.

Finally, check with other, smaller local non profits, food pantries and churches who may be willing to help. is supported partially by donations from community residents. For information about making a donation, click here.

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