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Assistance programs in Carlisle and Cumberland County Pennsylvania.

Low income families can get financial help from churches, charities, or the city of Carlisle Department of Health, Social and Human Service government grants. Residents can apply for help with rent or paying security deposits or utility bill help. Or they can get free groceries or food from pantries as well as health or dental care from clinics. Public assistance is also offered from the Cumberland County Assistance Office.

Charities also give free basic needs items to struggling families in Cumberland County, such as school supplies, Christmas toys from Angel Tree, winter coats and other goods. In addition, counseling and advice is stressed in the county. There are agencies that can help families pay their credit card bills or auto loans, or find a job or gain new skills. Other financial assistance  is extensive (as noted below) and includes everything from free/affordable day care to applications to emergency food stamps as well as free hot meals.

Get financial assistance for heating bills

One option for residents is the federally funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). People can apply to this program beginning in November of each year. The LIHEAP program provides free cash grants to help low to middle income households pay for their home heating fuel and bills during the wintertime. You need to apply at the Community Action Commission (phone (717) 232-2408).

There is also a crisis grant component that is used to address heating emergencies, and people can apply as of January of each year. This program will pay the bills for someone who is facing disconnection or runs out of fuel.

The amount of cash and crisis grants are based on family size, income, type of heating fuel and region of the state. Crisis grants are provided to resolve people with a heating emergency or unexpected fuel shortages.

A second place to turn to for assistance is the The United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County. After the LIHEAP program has distributed its funds, the United Way will provide additional funds to either people who need more help, or to people who did not qualify for the federal program.

Help with bills in Cumberland Pennsylvania

While there are many options and places to go to for help, which you can find listed below. Two of the leading organizations in the Carlisle and Cumberland County area provide resources that people can turn to for getting help with heating and utility bills. The United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County, located at 145 South Hanover Street Carlisle, PA 17013, telephone number (717) 243-4805 is one option. Another is Community Action Commission (CAC). They have several offices, with one located at 125 North Enola Drive #204 B, Enola, PA 17025, (717) 732-1944. Some of the programs they offer are below.




The Carlisle based Salvation Army has various resources. They can and often do based on funding. Examples of assistance are below. (Call 717-249-1411) should be contacted for information, referrals, and advice. They can direct people to local Cumberland County assistance programs and agencies. Receive emergency assistance (if funding is available) for paying bills. Or the Cumberland County Salvation Army may pass out free food, holiday meals, and much more. There are also homeless shelters, back to school supply giveaways and other items.

Case management and self-sufficiency is also available. Some of the more seasonal resources can include free Christmas meals and gifts as well as programs for Easter and Thanksgiving celebrations. More on Cumberland County PA Salvation Army programs.

Community Action Commission (CAC) may be able to direct families and individuals to grant programs and other forms of financial assistance. Income qualified families can possibly receive LIHEAP funds, weatherization, free food, and rent help.  (717) 732-1944. There are other utility programs too in the state, and learn more on energy assistance in Pennsylvania.

The agency referenced above, CAC, offers other social services as well in Cumberland County. For example, the Family Self Sufficiency Program will help address the cause of the hardship. So clients can learn about services such as job training or credit counseling. The non-profit CAC will also stress budgeting, money management, and saving money. Some are offered on site and some in partnership with other agencies. Even learn about getting free credit counseling in Pennsylvania, which can also be beneficial.

Or call the community action agency for other housing, tenant, and homeowner programs such as foreclosure prevention. The goal is to help families get financial help, exit poverty, and gain long term stability. Read Cumberland County Community Action Commission.

Christ Among Neighbors (C.A.N.) - People with an emergency or who are facing a crisis can apply for help. Programs only are offered for the Shippensburg School District and parts of Walnut Bottom, so zip codes 17266/7257. In addition, applicants must get a referral from a local non-profit, including the Salvation Army, Shippensburg Community Action Center, or King’s kettle. If qualified, CAN may offer funds as a last resort, including medical bill assistance, free food, clothing, money for utilities, and shelter/housing. Stop by 34 East Orange Street, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania 17257, or call (717) 386-9204.





Churches in the Cumberland County community help the vulnerable. There are programs for the poor, immigrants or Hispanics/Spanish speakers, the homeless and others. Each and every church in Carlisle or Harrisburg has their own programs. Whether it is loans, food, clothes, shelter, or something elsee, support is offered. Even find loans from churches to pay bills, which often come with low rates and credit score requirements.

Cumberland County Assistance Office, or the Department of Social Services, may have funds for the indigent, very low income, or working poor. All assistance offered only for emergencies while the long term need is covered.

Some money for heating bills is offered during the cold Pennsylvania winter. Housing, including emergency rental assistance is also administered by Health and Human Services. Other services include health care and insurance from Medicaid. Or the low income can apply for WIC, food stamps, and much more.

For more information on these various cash assistance type programs in the county, the main office is 33 Westminister Drive, Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013, phone 1-800-269-0173. Or more on public assistance in Cumberland County.

Neighbors in Christ offers a very limited amount of emergency financial help for paying bills and basic needs. Examples of what can be paid for include shelter, rent, utility, groceries, food, medications, and clothing. Those who live in the Big Springs School District can apply at First Presbyterian Church, 111 Big Spring Avenue, Newville, PA 17241.

Samaritan Fellowship offers crisis assistance help to persons living in Middlesex Township, Carlisle and South Middleton school districts, and also the Gardners area. Medical assistance, rent, and other needs are provided for. 99 Mooreland Avenue, Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013, telephone (717) 243-7338

Wrap is the states utility assistance program, which is available in Cumberland County Pennsylvania. Dial 1-800-342-5775. Low income families may qualify for various forms of energy saving repairs, such as weatherization and modifications to their heating and cooling systems.

Todd Baird Lindsey Foundation of Carlisle can help with housing needs. This includes utilities, rent, mortgage payments, real estate taxes, and maybe even homeowner's insurance. 717-486-4121.

Newburg First Church of God is for local, qualified low income and working poor families. Rent assistance and funds for utilities may be offered. Referrals, information, and other social services may be available. Note, they only support Newville on the east, to northeast Chambersburg and to the Shippensburg Pennsylvania area. Carlisle and upper Cumberland County are not in the churches service area and they can’t help those families. Telephone – 717-423-6279.





Cumberland County Aging & Community Services is a leading non-profit for the region. The focus is on the elderly as well as disabled, but other very low income residents can also apply for help. Programs and services include emergency food, shelter, and referrals to other human service agencies including Bridge Housing as well as attendant care. Other rent payment and/or housing assistance may be offered along with case management.

The poor, seniors and low income can also apply for utility bill assistance from LIHEAP, or the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The focus is on paying heating and gas bills. A grant will be issued to those that qualify and the funds are sent directly to your energy provider.

Cash assistance is offered as part of TANF program in Pennsylvania, and this is for pregnant women, dependent children and their parents. Or apply for food stamps, Medicaid, and a host of other government programs for Cumberland County as well as the state of Pennsylvania. The address of Community Services is 1100 Claremont Road, Carlisle, PA 17015-8560, phone 717-240-6110.

Churches and HELP Ministries may have occasional government funding for housing and back rent. The charity may also distribute free food and assist with needs ranging from medications to heating bills. The faith based charity may also issue loans to income qualified families or seniors in Cumberland County and coordinate other support. Read more on HELP Ministries assistance programs.

Carlisle C.A.R.E.S. serves the needy in Cumberland County Pennsylvania. The agency provides a number of services to the less fortunate, working poor, unemployed, and low income.

  • The Resource Center is offered for those facing imminent eviction or that are currently homeless. The goal is to help people overcome a challenge and obtain permanent housing. Clients will be offered assistance from a Supportive Services Coordinator. Get referrals to educational and employment programs, medical, legal, or veterans’ services as well as information on rent programs, and much more
  • Applications to Public Aid is available. Case workers help with applications to housing, USDA food stamps, school lunch programs and more. Continue with applications to emergency food stamps.
  • Employment Skills Center programs include information on a GED Training Program. Case management is provided for all Carlisle participants in an effort to help people meet their academic and employment goals. Get assistance with writing skills, mathematics, science, GED practice tests, and other exams.
  • English as Second Language / ESL can help immigrants and newcomers to Cumberland County. Clients of the non-profit can get help in advancing educational and employment levels. Tutors may be available as well.
  • The Carlisle C.A.R.E.S. literacy program will help clients with reading, writing, and math skills. This can also lead to a GED or ongoing education. At the end of the program, also get information on regional job training programs.
  • Project SHARE is a food assistance program for low income families, seniors, and those that are struggling in Cumberland County. Receive fresh, frozen, and free canned food items. It may be equivalent to up to one week’s worth of groceries.
  • Additional food programs are offered by CARES. Additional Carlisle C.A.R.E.S. resources include Kids in the Kitchen and Food for Life programs, which offer nutrition, counseling and cooking education. There are even details on using coupons to save money, even including Sunday newspaper coupons or websites.
  • The RASE Project provides transitional housing and recovery-oriented programming to women. It can help clients maintain employment, become productive, contributing members of society, and offer other support. It can provide them with free meals, clothing, and information on self-sufficiency, including job programs.

Call the C.A.R.E.S. agency at (717) 249-1009 for referrals and more information. Or find more details on programs from Carlisle CARES.







Coins for Caring provides heating bill and natural gas assistance during the winter months. This is an emergency program for those that qualify and dozens of qualified low income families may receive help every year. The program runs until funds are used up. The program does rely on donations, so please contribute to this Cumberland County United Way supported program if you can. 717-243-4805.

Vickie's Angel Walk is a non-profit for families dealing with cancer. Financial help can be used for paying both medical bill and other basic needs. Funds can pay food, rent/mortgage payments, car expenses, heating bills, insurance co-pays, medical premiums and prescription medications. 511 Bridge St, New Cumberland, PA 17070, call 717-774-3800 for information.

Social services are available from the county. A major focus is on homeless prevention, shelter, and rapid rehousing. A housing/homeless program has components such as case management, transitional housing, and a resource called Bride Housing.

For families behind on their rent or facing eviction, the county may be able to help with paying rent, heating and energy bills, or even security deposits on a home. Some of the other housing programs include emergency shelter and help in locating a new, permanent home or apartment in Cumberland County. 401 East Louther Street, Carlisle, Pennsylvania 17013. Call 717-243-4283 or 717-243-4691.

Save on prescription drugs

The United Way of Carlisle & Cumberland County administers a prescription discount card that can be used for substantial, immediate savings on prescription drug as well as life saving medications. The discount card is distributed free of charge (there is no cost to consumers). It can also be used for free at pharmacies and grocery stores across the county. it is also run in partnership with the Cumberland County Assistance Office.

The card is distributed locally, but it is part of a nationwide program run by the Family Wise Partnership, participating United Ways and other charity organizations. This is not an insurance product but a discount card only. So there is no cost to use it. On average, families and individuals with no current prescription coverage, and who use the card, may enjoy at least a 20% savings on their medicines. Those with prescription coverage as part of their health insurance may enjoy other savings as well. Find additional prescription assistance programs.

Rent assistance

Cumberland County Homeless Assistance Program (phone number 1-888-697-0371 ext 6110) provides grants for rental assistance and security deposits to qualified applicants who are either facing an eviction. they can even help people who are currently homeless or near-homeless. The organization provides, with both of these programs, needs assessments,  rental services, budgeting skills, security deposits, utility bill and heating bill assistance, case management services, and counseling.

Additional non-profit rental services - In addition to the program above, about 20 other emergency housing programs, shelters, and programs operate in Cumberland County Pennsylvania. Cash grants, funds, and referrals are offered for people who need help. Click here for more details on rent and security deposit help Cumberland County.





Credit card and medical debt reduction

Maranatha - Carlisle helps people deal with debts and financial challenges. Credit counselors will closely assist in developing a budget and debt management plan, in coordination with the creditors and client, to enable individuals to meet their monthly obligations and reduce their debts. Call 717-258-1000. The main office is located in Carlisle Pennsylvania. They can offer their own programs, or direct clients to such options as JP Morgan Chase assistance programs.

Too many Cumberland County families are in debt as well, whether with medical bills, auto loans, credit cards, or personal loans. There are other options available to them to assist. Everything from debt settlement to consolidation, counseling, mediation, and other programs are out there. The objective is to address short and long term needs. Even find learn about options such as pros and cons of debt management plans.


Free legal assistance, including foreclosure help

MidPenn Legal Services, Inc. provides qualified low income clients with free legal services and consultations. They deal with civic legal issues. One of the programs in greatest need is legal assistance for preventing foreclosures, and they offer this. Also, get help with divorces, debt issues, family disputes, and other aid. Click here for details on finding free legal aid in Pennsylvania to learn more, or dial 717-541-5601.

Cumberland County Pennsylvania free food assistance programs

Food and other forms of assistance is provided to the residents in the communities of Carlisle, Boiling Springs, Carlisle Springs, Mt. Holly Springs, Gardners, Plainfield and Middlesex, New Kingstown, Pennsylvania. A box is offered with about one weeks supply of groceries. Call Project SHARE at 717-249-7773.

Food banks also operate in the region as well. These centers will distribute groceries, food items, vouchers, and other resources to the needy and low income families. Some of the locations to call are:

  • Mt. Holly United Methodist Church Food Bank. Call (717) 528-7028 for food, meals, information on shelters, and clothing.
  • New Hope Ministries is based in Mechanicsburg. Phone (717) 766-7333.

Additional food as well as soup kitchens pantries operate in Cumberland County. There are details on phone numbers, addresses, and more information on other pantries as well as hunger prevention services. Some of the items provided may include canned goods, food boxes, perishable items, and government commodities. Find free food pantries in Cumberland County.

By Jon McNamara

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