If it's one thing I remember about growing up poor in a small Minnesota town, it's how we managed to stay warm in the winter months- with the oven.

Yep. There were times my dad couldn't afford a hefty heat bill; I mean, when it gets to be -36 below, a heater in a mobile home has to work over time and the heat bill would often be four times the amount it usually is.

That's when he'd just turn the oven on to about 400, open the door, and we'd gather around and pray that the house didn't burn down.

I can laugh about it now, but not being able to afford your winter heating bills is no laughing matter, which is why ComEd is offering assistance to people in need.

According to WIFR, ComEd customers can apply for several financial assistance programs at www.comed.com/care or call 1-888-806-2273.

Residents have to apply once every two years for grants up to $500.

Catch Mandy James on “The Steve Shannon Show with Mandy James” on 97 ZOK from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Follow her on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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