Frigid winter weather is on the way, and many Chattanooga families will struggle to pay their power bills.
There would be no heat in many homes if it weren't for social service agencies.
Here's how those programs work and who's eligible.
With weather like this possible even here in the mid-south, some families and seniors will have to make a choice.
Will they have food on this day...or heat?
Multiply that scenario by several thousand and you can get an idea of what social services agencies and churches deal with every winter.
DONNA HAGLER, CLEVELAND " I got help from Bradley Community services and they were very nice...I filled out the paperwork, that I was eligible to get help They paid it directly to Cleveland Utilities and it was a real blessing because my lights were getting ready to be turned off."
That's what many low income folks are doing this week in Cleveland, signing up.
They are filling out papers to become eligible for up to 600-dollars worth of financial assistance for utilities this winter.
FAY GOLDSTON , CLEVELAND COMMUNITY SERVICES "Depending on what their vendor is..with electricity, with wood, propane, natural gas. And they have to come in..bring in documentation and we process them. "
There's an income guideline because the funding comes from the federal government. But not everyone who applies gets the assistance.
A few blocks away, the Cleveland branch of the Salvation Army has a few more dollars for winter assistance thanks to last week's "Jingle Bell Jog "fundraiser.
SGT. RUTH FORGEY, SALVATION ARMY "Once we authenticate the need..we know that need is a real need and is legitimate...then we begin to see what resources we have available to help them."
There are similar programs in most cities in this area.
If you find yourself in a tight spot this winter, you can contact the Social Service agency in your area to sign up.
For Donna Hagler, this year turned out worse than last.
She and her two children don't need assistance with their heating bill.
She lost her job and they are living in a local shelter.