COVID, Hunger & Energy Costs

Date posted: Sunday 30 August 2020

After this summer of 2020, it’s no surprise that we find ourselves thinking about how one thing relates to another – and to another. As we have lived with the pandemic most of us have been mainly concerned with social distancing, staying close to home and wearing masks. That alone has made us anxious.


Others of us have had larger concerns as jobs disappeared, unemployment funding has become uncertain, and families’ needs are greater. How do we pay the rent or the mortgage? What if we don’t have enough food to last out the week - - or month? Will the local food shelf continue to have enough for us to receive some? If children are not back in the classroom, will there still be meals at school, especially if they are on free or reduced lunch? Cooler weather is coming; how will we be able to afford the heating costs?


I recently read information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration that 43% of electricity that we use in our homes goes to heating and cooling air and water. (That’s 31% for heating/AC and 12% to power water heaters.) Refrigeration (6%), lighting (5%), clothes dryers (4%) and TV/video games (4%) make up another fifth of electricity use. How might more careful use of this energy save much needed money for food, rent, transportation, and medical costs? For all of us?


Yes, turning off light bulbs and watching less TV helps but adjusting a thermostat makes the most difference. Keeping summer temperatures at 78 and winter ones at 72 will save money. Lowering water heater temperature to 120 degrees saves energy - - as does using cooler water for laundry and taking shorter showers. At our house we know most laundry doesn’t require hot water.


Stay safe, stay well, pray often, and remember others and their needs during these challenging times.


-Vernita Kennen
Incarnation Lutheran, Shoreview