Free Refrigerator for Low Income Families: Where to Find Help
The information in this article is current as of 10/20/2021.
If you’re one of the over 34 million people who qualify as low income in the United States, then you already know how difficult it can be to cover basic daily needs for yourself and your family. Food, clothing, shelter, and even basic medical care are all expenses that add up quickly and can stretch your budget even in the best of times.
That’s why the failure of a major appliance such as a refrigerator can spell real disaster. These appliances can be extremely costly and may be out of reach for people who don’t have a lot of cash on hand.
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably in search of a free refrigerator for low income families.
Though there is no one sure-fire way of landing a free refrigerator, the good news is that there are programs and resources that can help, and that’s what we’re here to discuss.
Choosing the Right Organization or Source
It’s true that there are several community organizations and grant programs that may be able to provide a free refrigerator for low-income families. Before counting on any single solution, however, it’s essential to do some legwork.
Some of the information posted on the internet is false. Of course, that goes for any topic, but we’re speaking specifically about free refrigerator programs.
Many sites say that the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) will help low-income families provide free refrigerators, but this is not fully accurate information. The program has offered this service in some states in the past, but currently does not offer a national program for free refrigerators.
LIHEAP can, however, provide help with things like furnace and AC repairs as well as weatherization, so it’s well worth your time to apply for the program if you are looking to reduce energy costs.
The Federal Weatherization Assistance Program is another program that generates confusion in this area. The WAP also provides home weatherization support to low-income families, which can greatly impact energy cost, but it does not currently provide free refrigerators. As of this writing, there is no current federal program that provides free refrigerators.
Finding A Free Refrigerator For Low-Income Families
One of the best ways to get a free refrigerator might not be the typical method you’re thinking of, and does require that you have the funds to buy a refrigerator up front.
There are very few programs that will give a free refrigerator to low-income families, so you may need to approach the problem from a different angle: another way to look at a “free” refrigerator is to focus on energy efficiency.
Your refrigerator and freezer are two appliances in your house that run 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If your freezer and refrigerator are inefficient, this can mean a lot of money spent on utility costs.
By upgrading to a more energy-efficient model or refrigerator, you’ll be saving on your utility bill. And, since you bought an energy-efficient appliance, you may also qualify for government assistance for that utility bill.
There may be instances when the government or a community organization will fund the replacement of your refrigerator, as well.
Let’s take a look at some of the other options low-income families have.
A lot of families will be better off by exploring their options with non-government programs. Most government assistance programs ask you to meet their low-income requirement before assisting. And, the “low-income” threshold for most government programs is shallow.
You may make slightly more than what the government requires but still have difficulty making ends meet. That’s why a non-government program, like a community outreach center, might be a better option.
In summary, try a non-governmental program first. It’s a more straightforward process with fewer “hoops” to jump through.
Examples of local resources you may wish to explore include The Salvation Army, St. Vincent DePaul, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace.
You may also want to try apps such as FreeCycle and LetGo.
If there is a Habitat for Humanity ReStore in your area, it’s definitely worth a visit.
You can also ask at your local church if you attend one, or search Google for “free appliances near me” or similar.
Just be sure to always be safe when planning meetups with people you don’t know. Choose a busy public place for any exchanges, and be sure to bring other adults with you.
Finally, don’t forget about your personal network and social media. You may have luck posting your search on your own social media profiles or in local neighborhood groups.
Consider Monthly Payments
The upfront cost of a refrigerator may seem like a big hill to climb. But, if you look at financing options offered by most “big box” hardware stores, it may not be so bad, though of course, it depends on the rates and terms of their financing program as well as your own eligibility.
If you are able to qualify for a big box store’s financing program, you may be able to access an affordable monthly payment on a new refrigerator.
Not so scary now, is it? But, wait. It gets better.
If you decide to purchase an energy-efficient model (like we advised earlier), you’ll receive an average savings of $18 per month in electricity. Apply that cost against the monthly payment you would make on the fridge to see what your true monthly cost would be as the figure could be even more manageable.
There is one major government program that can help low-income families offset the cost of a refrigerator, and it takes the approach described above.
There is not, however, a one-stop national program that provides free refrigerators for low-income people. Some cities (such as Los Angeles) may offer programs from time to time as circumstances allow.
The Energy Star Rebate program is a national program that supports the reduction of household energy costs in a variety of ways. The Energy Star symbol is nationally recognized as the symbol for energy-efficient appliances. This program is backed by funding from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Energy Star program will offer rebates on energy-efficient appliances. You can log on to the Energy Star website to find out the available rebate opportunities in your area. Their website will also give you information on different makes and models, how much they cost, and where you can find them.
These rebates can significantly reduce the upfront cost of purchasing an energy-efficient refrigerator. The amount of the rebate will vary from state to state. But, some rebates may cover up to $75 of the refrigerator’s cost.
This may not seem like much, but it will reduce the amount of time it takes you to pay off your refrigerator.
Cool As A Cucumber
Now you know some tips about getting a free refrigerator for low-income families. Although there are opportunities to receive a free refrigerator, the chances may be slim in your state. Focus on energy efficiency, government rebates, and lowering your energy costs, and you’ll wind up with a refrigerator that’s free anyway.
Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service
If you qualify for federal benefits such as SNAP, you also qualify for Lifeline service. Lifeline is a federal benefit program that makes it possible for low-income consumers to receive access to free or heavily discounted communication services. Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.