Give Back With JEA's Neighbor to Neighbor Fund

 
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Founded in 1987, JEA’s Neighbor to Neighbor Fund is a way for customers and employees to provide temporary assistance to customers unable to pay their utility bill during a financial crisis. The Neighbor to Neighbor Fund helps elderly, disabled, and those less fortunate keep the lights on and water running.

Contribute With Your Monthly JEA Bill

Make a monthly donation commitment today and help light it forward.

  • Every dollar counts. Each year, over 550 families are able to maintain utility services as a result of Neighbor to Neighbor. 
  • Each customer contribution goes directly to people in need. No expenses are deducted by JEA or the United Way.
  • Every donation is tax-deductible.

Sign In to Donate

If you don't have a jea.com account, register for one now. You can also sign up for Neighbor to Neighbor by calling (904) 665-6000.

Recognizing Local Agencies: JEA's Light It Forward Award

Each year, local agencies provide financial assistance in utility bill assistance to JEA customers in need. To recognize the people behind the scenes who make this happen, JEA created the Light it Forward Award. It honors local agency employees who go above and beyond to help low-income households.

2021 Light It Forward Award Winners

Pattie Gocke, Program Assistant, Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry

Stewart Miller, Steps 2 Success Career Coach for Lutheran Social Services

In his role as a career coach for LSS’s Steps 2 Success program, Stewart helps clients increase net income, reduce debt, build credit and, ultimately, achieve their dreams! To his clients, he is more than a coach, but also a cheerleader and mentor. When Gwennette entered the program, she was unemployed and living in her car. She remembers one time she felt so hopeless and defeated, she called Stewart from her car crying. She said his warmth, compassion and encouragement were what she needed to keep going. Now, she is employed, has her own apartment (and utilities!) and is continuing her education. Many other S2S clients have similar stories, and also credit their success to Stewart’s support. First and foremost, S2S is about helping each client obtain self-sufficiency by achieving their unique goals. When individuals become financially stable, however, they contribute by paying taxes, pay their utility and other bills on time, become stably housed and support local businesses. Essentially, the whole community thrives. 

Ed Palmer, Veterans Social Service Supervisor, Office of Military Affairs and Veterans, City of Jacksonville

Timekod Sims, Outreach Specialist for the City of Jacksonville’s Military and Veterans Affairs Department

Timekod Sims has worked for the City of Jacksonville for close to 20 years. Timekod assists Veterans in avoiding eviction or utility cutoff. As a spouse of a Military veteran, Ms. Sims said she handles over 850 cases a year and can tell many stories of Veterans who have received life-changing assistance after they came to the office at City Hall. One story about a Veteran family that consisted of a mother and her four children stands out in particular. The mother came to the office right before Christmas and Ms. Sims was about to leave for her vacation. This family was homeless and was sleeping in their car. Timekod was able to provide the family with clothes from the city’s clothes closet, get them gift certificates for food and was able to work with The Villages and HVRP to get this family a roof over their head. HVRP helped the mother find employment and the Villages, although it was after hours, worked with Ms. Sims to get this family a place to stay. The family was able to get to the Villages courtesy of JSO who gave them a police escort. Due to Ms. Sims selfless work, she was able to make sure this family had a roof over their head, food in their kitchen, and was instrumental in helping the mother find a job.

Nancy Chamblin, Financial Assistance Program Coordinator, Downtown Ecumenical Services Council

Veronica Matthews, Benefits Enrollment Center Coordinator for ElderSource

According to Feeding America, one in 14 seniors face hunger putting them at risk for chronic health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressures and mental health issues like depression. In addition, there are seniors who struggle to pay for their Medicare premiums. Veronica Matthews, the ElderSource Benefits Enrollment Center Coordinator assists seniors with their SNAP application and Medicare Savings Program applications. This process requires tremendous attention to detail and patience. Pre-COVID, Veronica participated in Senior Day at JEA, working onsite to assist seniors with applications. Once the COVID lockdown was in place, Veronica’s ability to meet face-to-face with JEA seniors ended. Luckily, Veronica did not give up. With her compassion and commitment, she continues to assist approximately 90 to 100 seniors a month, representing on average the potential impact of $100,000 in cumulative benefit savings each month. Each client’s circumstance and reason as to why they call for assistance is often heartbreaking and complex. For example, one client seeking help was disabled, non-English speaking, and without transportation or a computer. There were many barriers preventing her from securing help. With great patience and diligence, Veronica connected her to resources. The client was so thankful she called multiple times just to express her gratitude. These kinds of situations occur every day in the world in which Veronica works. She hears their stories and is always thinking of ways to assist seniors, preserving their independence and dignity.

Learn About Previous Award Winners

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Closed Title:2020 Light It Forward Award Winners
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Pattie Gocke, Program Assistant, Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry

Pattie Gocke, Program Assistant, Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry (BEAM)

Pattie Gocke has been employed by BEAM for the past two-and-a-half years. Late one Friday, she fielded a call from a co-worker at the agency’s thrift store, sharing the story of a client who was worried their utilities could be disconnected at any time. Instead of calling it a night, Gocke reached out to the client with a listening ear. Despite a language barrier, she was able to secure the needed documentation for BEAM to provide financial assistance. Then first thing Monday morning, she reached out to the client to share that a payment had been made to their JEA account. Relieved, the client thanked her over and over. Along with utility assistance, Gocke schedules food pantry appointments and works with BEAM volunteers. Her coworkers bear witness to the fact that she never gives up, always remains calm and never hesitates to help.

Ed Palmer, Veterans Social Service Supervisor, Office of Military Affairs and Veterans, City of Jacksonville

Ed Palmer, Veterans Social Service Supervisor, Office of Military Affairs and Veterans, City of Jacksonville

A retired Navy veteran and COJ employee for more than 15 years, Ed Palmer helps fellow veterans avoid evictions and utility cutoffs, handling more than a thousand cases per year. While he has hundreds of stories of veterans getting life-changing assistance, he’ll never forget Lt. John. Homeless and living in James Weldon Johnson Park and the occasional shelter, Lt. John enlisted in the Navy as an E-1 (the lowest enlisted grade) and rose through the ranks before retiring as an O-3. While eligible for military retirement pay, a failed marriage and alcohol addiction made it hard to survive. “We got him off the street and into an alcohol rehabilitation program,” Palmer said. Lt. John expressed his appreciation, “Thank you for your help. You treated me professionally and non-judgmentally. When I left your office, I felt a burden lift off of my shoulders. Today, I am clean and sober…one day at a time.”

Nancy Chamblin, Financial Assistance Program Coordinator, Downtown Ecumenical Services Council

Nancy Chamblin, Financial Assistance Program Coordinator, Downtown Ecumenical Services Council (DESC)

Nancy Chamblin has served hundreds of families in financial despair over 14 years at DESC. Still she was not prepared for COVID-19 and its catastrophic impacts, which halted business as usual at DESC. When technology replaced face-to-face interviews, Chamblin never blinked. In her first remote case, she worked with the daughter of a 93-year-old woman to upload required  documents the client had no idea how to send electronically. In another example, a young mother lost her job as a security officer and found herself living in a car with her 4-year-old daughter. After finding a place to live, Chamblin drove to her apartment to pay the young family’s security deposit. These selfless acts demonstrate a natural part of who Nancy Chamblin is - quick to offer encouragement and moral support in times of need.

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Barbara Jones, Family Support Services of North Florida

Barbara Jones, Family Preservation Supervisor, Family Support Services of North Florida
Barbara is recognized for actively volunteering her time to help clients work with JEA to get their power back on, put food on the table, and even pursuing their GED's. 

Ronald Howell, Northeast Florida Community Action Agency

Ronald Howell, Program Coordinator, Northeast Florida Community Action Agency 
Ron has worked for 18 years with NFCAA, of which he has spent the past 16 years – including every Saturday during tax season – preparing tax returns for low-income individuals at no cost. Since 2003, he has tirelessly volunteered with United Way’s RealSense program, a role in which he has served as a volunteer tax preparer, tax site manager and financial educator.

Paulette Fulton, City of Jacksonville Senior Services Division

Paulette Fulton, Clerical Support Aide II, City of Jacksonville Senior Services Division 
Paulette ensures elder customers receive the upmost respect when applying for assistance. She never gives up on a client and at times works in tandem with the City of Jacksonville’s Social Services Department to ensure seniors receive services and education about every possible community resource.

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Audrey Green, Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida

Audrey Green, HIV Housing Coordinator, Lutheran Social Services of Northeast Florida
Audrey has been the HIV housing coordinator at LSS for more than 16 years. She is the calming voice on the other end of the phone, the mother figure to those who need direction, the counselor to those who need a shoulder to cry on.
Meet Audrey Green

Lili High, Catholic Charities

Lili High, Director of Emergency Assistance, Catholic Charities 
Lili works tirelessly to ensure that anyone in need receives vital services to keep families together and safe in their homes, including utility, rent and mortgage assistance. Her humble and compassionate service to clients and their families is exemplary. 
Meet Lili Hugh

Angie McKenzie, City of Jacksonville

Angie McKenzie, Senior Services Manager, City of Jacksonville 
Angie McKenzie has worked at the COJ for the past 20 years and possesses an enormous dedication to the City, JEA and their staff, and most importantly the seniors who benefit from the service delivered by the department she oversees.  
Meet Angie McKenzie

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