NORTH BELLMORE. N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The National Grid Foundation has made a $125,000 donation to keep hundreds of Long Island homes warm this winter season.

The Long Island-based company donated the money to the nonprofit United Way’s ‘Project Warmth’ program, to be distributed as grants to families in need, WLNY TV 10/55’s Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported.

Richelle Nelson, of North Bellmore, and her husband are recovering from 18 months of unemployment, 1010 WINS reported. Now that they’re both working again, the family is struggling to get their current living expenses, like their utility bills, under control.

“We alternate between boiling water on the stove and cooking and baking just to bring the house temperature up a bit,” Nelson said.

Nelson said the grant from Project Warmth will help keep her two children warm.

“My children are too important for me to have the electric and heat shut off,” Nelson said.

The project also helps middle-income families who make too much to qualify for the state’s heat assistant program.

Retired teacher Thelma Johnson, 73, of Baldwin, said she plans to use the grant to pay off an overdue $500 electric bill.

“Being a senior citizen, it is very difficult for me to make the payment,” she said.

According to Theresa Regnante, of Project Warmth, there is a $400 grant for oil and a $150 to help pay electric bills.

Project Warmth has raised $600,000 so far this year — enough to keep the heat on for around 1,200 needy families.

Most of the money raised by Project Warmth came from Long Island residents who sent in donations on top of their monthly electric bill.