EWING, NJ -- This winter has featured early snows as well as record high temperatures, making it difficult to know what to expect from the season.

Make sure your home is prepared for the cold and windy months by following these quick tips:

  • Cold weather means you probably have the heat turned up or a woodfire in the fireplace – just make sure to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and keep fresh batteries available.
  • Prevent water pipes from freezing by letting cold water drip from your faucets, which keeps water in the pipes moving. You can also open any cabinet doors under the sink to allow warm air to circulate there.
  • Have a furnace? Filters should be replaced more than once during the winter months.
  • Built-up ice can create too much pressure on gutters and keep water from draining properly, leading to damaged gutters and, in some cases, water leaking through your roof. When the weather allows, make sure to check and clear gutters to remove ice and keep water from building up.
  • Shovel smart and keep walkways clear for pedestrians. When shoveling, take frequent breaks and remember to lift your snow shovel with your legs, not your back. And whether you’re clearing snow or just out walking this winter, pay attention and watch for black ice.

Keeping your home safe and warm in winter takes work – and unfortunately, it can lead to higher-than-usual utility bills. For families and individuals facing a financial crisis, leaving the water on to drip could cause an unfavorable spike in their water bill. That’s where NJ SHARES steps in.

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New Jersey SHARES, Inc. is a statewide non-profit organization providing utility assistance to individuals and families undergoing a temporary crisis, who may not be eligible for other forms of assistance. For more than 20 years, NJ SHARES has assisted more than 185,000 residents with their utility bills.

“We provide critical help to our neighbors in need, especially during these cold, dark winter months,” says Cheryl Stowell, CEO, NJ SHARES. “But in order to assist those in crisis, we rely on donations from generous members of the community.”

Stowell shared a few easy ways to support households across New Jersey who are struggling to meet their utility burden this winter:

  • Visit njshares.org/donate or text NJSHARES (one word) to 50155 to make a tax-deductible donation – proceeds benefit grants and programs for New Jersey residents.
  • Connect your AmazonSmile account to NJ SHARES and Amazon will donate a portion of the proceeds from any purchase you make back to support NJ SHARES.
  • Finally, check on those in your community who may be struggling! Clear snow off the walkway of an elderly neighbor, or check to see if the family next door could use a few extra groceries. Your warm heart could make all the difference during the cold winter.

NJ SHARES, Inc. is a statewide non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization primarily providing assistance to individuals and families in need of help meeting their energy and utility burden. Through assistance, advocacy, community outreach, education, information and referral, NJ SHARES connects low- and moderate-income households with available resources.