CVRF helps Elders and Families weather the high cost of living in Rural Alaska

Daniel T. Olrun Sr. of Mekoryuk is grateful for the Elder assistance provided by Coastal Villages Region Fund. (Photo courtesy of CVRF)

by CVRF Staff

Each winter, Coastal Villages Region Fund (CVRF) supports elders and provides energy assistance to families in its 20 member communities through the longstanding Elder and Heating Oil Programs. This year, CVRF delivered 35 gallons of heating oil to 2,204 households during the twelfth round of the annual Heating Oil Program.

Since 2008, CVRF has provided roughly $2.8 million in heating oil assistance through this program.

Heating oil is one of the largest household costs for families living in Western Alaska where lower cost alternatives, like natural gas, are not available. In the lower Yukon Kuskokwim region, families spend an average of 26 percent of their income on heat and electricity and in the latest Alaska Fuel Price Report, Western Alaska reported the highest average heating fuel retail price in the state.

This year, the number of households participating in the Heating Oil Program increased slightly from 2018, and CVRF estimates that approximately 95% of households in its member communities enroll in this program.

CVRF’s Elder Program provides additional benefits to elders that also help counterbalance the high cost of living in their communities. Through the 2018 Elder Program, completed early this year, 728 elders each received 46 gallons of heating oil and 70 pounds of premium frozen meats.

Since 2009, CVRF has provided $1.9 million in heating oil, food, and other aid to elders in its communities.

“It’s always a pleasure to work with the residents in our communities, especially during the Elder Program and the Heating Oil Program,” said Tiffany Daniel, CVRF’s Community Service Representative in Kwigillingok. “We get to share good laughs, hear many thank yous, and see the priceless looks on our elders’ faces when we deliver meat packages. These programs help with the high cost of living in the rural areas. It gives me a very good feeling to be able to reach out to our residents and distribute heating fuel to our elders and each household in our community.”

Through these two programs, CVRF provided more than 110,000 gallons in heating oil benefits to CVRF residents this past winter.

“I am really happy that CVRF provides us heating oil and food,” said Alexandra Larson, an elder from Napaskiak. “It comes right when I need it. Nowadays stove oil is expensive, and the Elder Program really helps. I appreciate what CVRF is doing.”

Coastal Villages Region Fund (CVRF) uses Bering Sea fishing rights granted to it by the Community Development Quota (CDQ) program to foster sustainable and diversified local economies in western Alaska. CVRF is organized as a 501(c)(4) Alaska non-profit corporation and operates in 20 member communities located along the west coast of Alaska, from Scammon Bay to Platinum. CVRF generates the money to fund its programs by harvesting fish in the Bering Sea with its own fleet of vessels. CVRF is dedicated to creating sensible, tangible, and long-term economic development opportunities that generate hope for the more than 9,500 residents of its communities. It is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of one member democratically elected from each community. CVRF is the largest Alaskan-owned seafood company in history and the first CDQ group to own and control the vessels that harvest the vast majority of its CDQ allocations.