In Flanders, 40 families struggling financially living in the Antwerp municipality of Mol each received 1,000 litres of heating oil from a mysterious benefactor – an anonymous donation of some €40,000 in total.
The households involved received the news in advance via a mysterious text message, Martine Simons, who was among the lucky ones receiving the 1,000 litres, told local radio on Tuesday.
"On Monday evening, I received a message thanking me for ordering 1,000 litres of heating oil. At first, I thought it was a scam," Simons said. "Then on Tuesday, we got a call from social services saying it was not a scam and that we should definitely take the 1,000 litres. It is an incredible story that you only see in films. I have no words for it."
Not an easy selection
While the families received a phone call from the OCMW/CPAS, the donation came from someone else, she said. "I suspect that the CPAS worked with that person and they made the choice of who could use that money."
A week before Christmas, the Mol social services indeed received a request from a resident to donate €40,000 worth of heating oil to families or single people struggling financially during the winter period, reports VRT.
"We then went to see which families had already received a heating oil grant in the past and could now make good use of the money," said Social Affairs city councillor Wendy Soeffers. "That was not an easy selection. We did not proceed overnight and discussed this well with the social workers."
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As the high energy prices in recent months made the period a very difficult one for families in financial need, Soeffers stressed how much this donation can help some people. "During this energy crisis, many families fall by the wayside and this action enables all those families to survive the winter period."
In December, 165 residents from the municipality of Olmen – which is located very close to Mol – won nearly €143 million at Euromillions. "It could well be that one of the winners did this," Simons said, adding that it does not really matter to her who the generous benefactor is. "Whoever it is is a very nice person."