DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — AES Ohio has launched the eighth year of the Gift of Power financial assistance program, which aims to help people struggling to pay their winter heating bills.

The company is collaborating with The Salvation Army to keep the power on for residents who have received a disconnection notice.

“As we enter the coldest months of the year, our hope is to lessen the burden of those customers experiencing financial hardships,” Kristina Lund, AES Ohio President and CEO, said.

“The Gift of Power fund allows us to lend a hand to those who need it the most, helping to avoid the difficult choice between a warm home and other necessities.”

The program can make direct payments to prevent a customer’s electric from being shut off and makes a difference for vulnerable community members like seniors.

“It’s a very crucial program where people are in so much need,” Major Gayle Senak of the Salvation Army Dayton Kroc Center said.

“Sometimes people will call that very day and tell us that their electric is getting turned off, and we can make a payment to intercept that, which is amazing.”

Since 2015, contributions totaling $1.2 million dollars have provided financial relief to more than 3,000 Miami Valley families, according to a Nov. 9 release.

Donations for the program can be mailed or dropped off at the Salvation Army Kroc Center located at 1000 North Keowee Street in Dayton.