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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The mad rush for holiday gifts is still on and one community group is making a plea to give energy this winter.

As Gigi Barnett explains, the Fuel Fund of Maryland says this is the season that some donors forget to give.

Cartoons in the background, a Christmas tree is aglow in a toasty living room.

It’s home for Shamarie James, but last week her house in South Baltimore was quiet, dark and cold.

“I’m downstairs cleaning up the kitchen, cleaning my daughter’s bottles, and the lights just go off. And it got cold,” she said.

James owed BGE more than $1,700.

With two special needs nephews, an ailing mother and her own toddler to take care of, the 21-year-old student panicked.

After a few nights in a hotel, she got a tip to call The Fuel Fund of Maryland.

“I had lost hope. I knew I had nobody. They saved my Christmas. They saved my family,” she said.

The nonprofit agency paid most of James’ energy bill.

But this week it’s asking for donations.  Christmas is right around the corner.  So is winter, and many others may be in the dark, too.

“Electricity, heat, air conditioning. We take those things for granted.  Human nature says when it’s cold, we think about it, but it really is an ongoing issue,” said James Smith, Maryland Fuel Fund spokesman.

Last year, the Fuel Fund helped at least 7,000 families. This year, it’s on track to assist 9,000.

The Fuel Fund assists families in Baltimore and the surrounding counties.

If you need help this season, click here.

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