If you’re struggling to stay warm, there are charities and organizations that may be able to give you a free space heater or free electric blanket. This is a great way to stay toasty this season!
In this article, we will review all the options we’ve found that may be able to help you with these things. As always, services vary by location so you will need to contact the agency nearest you to find out what is available in your area.
Get Help with Heating Nationwide
No matter where you live in the United States, there are programs that may be able to help you conquer the cold. Whether it’s by providing a free space heater or by improving the energy-efficiency of your home, these programs can help you be more comfortable when it’s cold outside.
There are many Christmas programs that offer assistance with free gifts, toys and more during the holidays. Some of these programs may offer free space heaters, too!
For example, Blue Santa in Leander, Texas, provides new blankets and heaters to families whenever possible. This program has helped a lot of seniors and families with children stay warm over the years.
Don’t forget that literally anyone can write a letter to Santa and make a request through USPS Operation Santa! This program invites people to write letters to Santa. The letters are uploaded to a website, where donors can choose which wishes to fulfill.
It is important to recognize that not all Christmas assistance programs provide this service. However, many do allow families to request specific gifts. If you decide to ask for help getting a heater, make sure that you are clear and respectful in your request. Understand that this may be outside of their scope and be grateful for any help that they can provide. At the very least, they may be able to refer you to another agency that can help you.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Christmas assistance programs typically serve families that include at least one child or senior, but some programs are open to everyone.
HOW TO APPLY: Each Christmas program sets their own application instructions. You can get a detailed list of eligibility requirements and application instructions for Christmas assistance programs around the country in our Nationwide Free Christmas Help Directory.
You might be surprised to learn that your energy provider could offer you a free space heater or electric blanket! For example, Memphis Light Gas and Water has given away free heaters and blankets every year for the last several years.
While this service isn’t universally available, an increasing number of utility companies are recognizing the need to support their customers amid soaring energy costs. For example, Octopus Energy in Britain gave away more than 10,000 free electric blankets in winter 2022-2023!
It’s definitely worth checking with your local energy provider to see if they have such programs in place, as they can be a valuable resource in helping you stay warm and manage your energy bills more effectively.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE: These programs are usually limited to low income customers who have high energy bills.
HOW TO APPLY: Each company sets their own eligibility and application instructions, so you’ll need to reach out to them. First, ask if they have a program that can help you stay warm because their program might be different. Once they’ve given you some information, then ask specifically about getting a free space heater. This two-step approach will help you get a comprehensive view of all the assistance that is available to you.
Weatherization Assistance Program
In 2017, my family was relying on space heaters to warm our house because the in-wall heaters just weren’t cutting it. It was always cold in the winter and unbearably hot in the summer. As much as we loved our home, it was not comfortable.
We were so grateful when the Weatherization Assistance Program stepped in and provided approximately $18,000 in free home improvements for us. One of those improvements was a free heat pump that could warm our house in winter or cool it down in summer. It made us way more comfortable at home and it also cut our energy bills drastically. Read more about how WAP helped me.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE: You must meet income limits but the limits vary depending on where you live. Usually, you will qualify if your income is either less than double the Federal Poverty Level or less than 60% of the Area Median Income. If you’re already receiving benefits from certain programs like SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), you might automatically qualify. The funds are limited, so not everyone who qualifies will get help right away. Priority is given to high-energy users and households that include at least one senior, child, or person with a disability.
HOW TO APPLY: You will need to contact the agency that administers the Weatherization Assistance Program in your area for application instructions. In most areas, that will be your Community Action Agency. If you don’t know which CAA covers your area, you can call 211 or your energy utility provider to find out.
There are dozens of different wish-granting organizations out there. While some are internationally recognized for providing world-class destination adventures, others are smaller in scope and only provide help with basic needs. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on the latter.
For example, Twilight Wish is an organization that helps grant wishes for seniors. Their Simple Need program may be able to help you get a free space heater, electric blanket or other supplies that can help you stay warm. Find more wish-granting programs for seniors here.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Each wish-granting organization sets their own criteria. Each organization usually serves a specific demographic, like veterans, seniors, or people with certain diagnoses.
HOW TO APPLY: First, you need to choose a wish-granting organization to apply with. We have separate lists for veterans, children and adults so that you can easily find the programs that are most relevant to you. Choose which list is most relevant for you, select the organization and then follow the instructions provided.
Find Free Space Heaters & More Near You
The best way to get free space heaters, electric blankets and more is to look at the local nonprofits and charities in your community. That’s because local agencies are usually better suited to solve local needs.
At Low Income Relief, it’s our full-time job to dig through resources and find ways to help you. We’re constantly finding new resources to add to this list and we’ll update it regularly as we find new assistance programs.
Elder Care Services in the Big Bend area may be able to provide free space heaters for seniors in the area when donations allow. This is offered through their Senior Outreach Services program.
In order to be eligible, you must be a low income senior in the Big Bend area. It appears that they may serve seniors who live in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Homes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla, and Washington counties.
You can apply for this program by contacting Elder Care Services directly. You can also try calling their Regional Elder Helpline at (800) 963-5337 for assistance.
Warmth for Wake in Wake County can provide a free space heater or up to three cords of free firewood to those who need it. If you prefer firewood, they may be able to deliver it to you!
In order to be eligible for this program, you must be a low income resident of Wake County, North Carolina. Income limits and other requirements have not been made publicly available by the county government at this time.
You can apply for this program by contacting the Wake County Health & Human Services Department between October and March.
MLGW’s Power of Warmth Program in Memphis can give you a free space heater or electric blanket if you qualify.
In order to be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must live in Shelby County, Tennessee
- You must be disabled and/or low income
- You must be at least 60 years old
- You must have a MLGW account
If you meet the requirements, you can apply online. Applications open at the end of November and remain open until supplies run out.
Blue Santa in Leander is a Christmas assistance program that provides free blankets and space heaters when donations allow. You can get more info about this in our post about free Christmas help in Texas.
Dallas County Health and Human Services may be able to give you a free space heater through their Weatherization Assistance Program if you need one. The Dallas Morning News reported that the county gave away more than 100 space heaters to Dallas County residents in early 2023.
In order to be eligible for this program, you need to have a gross income that is less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Level and be a US citizen. Certain people who are not citizens, like noncitizen US nationals and legal residents, may also qualify.
It appears that you can apply online but the Dallas Morning News recommends that you call (214) 819-1909 for assistance as well. Information and applications are available in both English and Spanish.
Hidalgo County Community Service Agency has given away free space heaters in the past. You may be able to get help from them if you are a low income resident of Hidalgo County and at least one member of your household is either disabled, a senior, or a child under age 6. You’ll need to contact them for details.
Department for Children and Families is a statewide program that may be able to provide a free space heater or other heating service for low income families who qualify. Basically, this program can either repair or replace your home’s primary source of heat.
This program should be able to help you no matter what your home’s primary source of heat is. The state website lists a variety of different heating types, including space heaters, heat pumps, furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, or stoves.
In order to be eligible, you must have a household income that is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level. You must also be experiencing a winter heating crisis that involves your home’s primary source of heat.
You can apply for this program by contacting your local Community Action Agency. Call them ahead of time to schedule an appointment and ask what documentation you will need to bring. If you are elderly or disabled, you may be able to apply over the phone.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a free space heater to stay warm this winter. The programs discussed in this article can help you receive a heater, electric blanket, firewood, or even something as elaborate as a heat pump to help you stay cozy when it’s cold outside. Follow the application instructions in this list or call 211 for more ways that you can get assistance. Stay cozy!