For the second year in a row, a New Bedford man has decided to buy heating oil for multiple families in the area. Hank Benoit said the original plan was to supply heating oil to up to three families, similar to what he did last holiday season, but he's ending up helping more.

"I just kept getting requests from people who really deserved some help, so I'm helping," Benoit said. "I'm originally from Acushnet, I grew up there, so my heart is there." That's one of the reasons Benoit put up his post in an Acushnet-based Facebook group. The post was seeking local families who needed a little help with heating oil this winter.

"The original idea was to help senior citizens," he said, "But I heard from a single mom with a special needs son and no husband. I know I can't help everybody, but there are people out there that are hurting and when it gets cold outside it gets cold in their house without the help."

Benoit said instead of helping three families, as planned, three grew to five, and then five grew to six.

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Pauline Pavao works at Luzo Fuel. She said the 76-year-old Benoit, who formerly owned a fencing company, is so kind and generous that it is inspiring.

"Other people should hear about what he does because it might give someone else an idea to do something like this for someone else in need," she said.

Each family will receive 100 gallons of heating oil from Luzo Fuel, courtesy of Benoit. At roughly $3 a gallon for heating oil, that will run somewhere around $1,800.

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