DORVAL – Steve Pfarrer never expected to be struggling to make ends meet at the age of 59.
He lost his job at Bombardier two years ago and now spends his days searching for work online.
The single father’s situation went from bad to worse last month when his heating oil ran out at his home in Dorval, and he couldn’t afford to buy more.
The family was cut off by their oil company after falling behind with payments, and while they’ve scattered electric spot heaters throughout the house, keeping the temperature from falling below freezing has been a challenge.
“January was a pretty freaking cold month so yes, it was hard,” Pfarrer said, adding he has made it a habit to wear extra layers.
But after spending close to a month with no heat, the Dorval family will finally be able to sleep well beginning Wednesday night.
After reaching out to Global News last week, Sun Youth came to the rescue and offered to help Pfarrer and his son.
The non-profit organization helped arrange for the family to receive 450 litres of heating oil, free of charge, thanks to an emergency heating donation program.
“I was really happy Sun Youth was able to kick in some money to help pay off his debt, and the oil company Ultramar was able to fill up his tank,” said Eric Kingsley, emergency services coordinator at Sun Youth.
“He’s had a rough couple of years, you know, one thing after another, and it’s something we see a lot of with people here after 50-55 years old. You lose your job – it’s not so easy to find a new job.”
Pfarrer doesn’t qualify for welfare because he’s a homeowner.
But his pension of $580 a month is not nearly enough to cover his mortgage and basic expenses.
So, one can imagine his relief when someone showed up to fill up his oil tank with enough to get him through the winter.
Now that the heat is on, the family won’t have to lose any more sleep over their finances, at least for now.
“We’re very very thankful for Sun Youth’s help and hopefully we’ll be able to contribute back to them eventually,” Pfarrer’s 27-year-old son Tom said.
“It’s been rough…it’s been really rough.”