By Jim Donovan

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As temperatures continue to hover below normal for this time of year, one senior citizen organization is sounding the alarm. An emergency fund that helps seniors pay their heating bills may have to shut down due to lack of funds.

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For nearly two decades, the Emergency Fund for Older Philadelphians has been helping low-income seniors in crisis.

“The emergency fund was created about 20 years ago. It’s a coalition of 20 nonprofit agencies that help raise money for low income elderly. It’s a crisis intervention program, we provide funds for fuel oil, electric bills, clothing, shelter and things of that nature for low income elderly in the city,” said Holly Lange, CEO of the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging.

But now the fund, which is overseen by the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, finds itself in a crisis. Money is going out faster than donations are coming in, at a rate of nearly $1,700 a day.

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“We have only $44,000 left. It will not last to the end of the year,” said Lange.

As the fund relies on donations, Lange is hoping that people will find it in their hearts to make a donation.

“Any amount helps. Any amount to help our elderly, it’s getting cold and people who may not have heat or may not have fuel oil, need help with their electric bills, need help with food, clothing and shelter, basic necessities, it’s a crisis,” said Lange.

In the past 20 years, the Emergency Fund for Older Philadelphians closed only once due to lack of funds. That was back in 2005, driven in part by rising oil prices due to Hurricane Katrina.

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