Woodyard fund helped Eastover woman struggling to stay afloat

mlucas@thestate.comJanuary 21, 2013 

  • Woodyard Fund How to give help: Donations can be mailed to the Woodyard Fund, c/o The State, P.O. Box 1333, Columbia, SC 29202. Make checks payable to the Woodyard Fund. All donations are tax-deductible. How to get help: Area residents who need assistance with heating bills can call for an appointment at (803) 462-5093.

A week before Christmas, Lillian Jones received notice her power would be cut off.

The 55-year-old Eastover resident already had received a letter from her energy company warning she was overdue when a final notice arrived just days before the holiday week was to start.

“I was really depressed,” she said. “We don’t do a lot of spending and buying and all that in my family, so I would see all these people out shopping, and all I wanted was to pay my light bill.”

Laid off from her job in 2007 as a medical referral coordinator in a private Midlands practice, Jones has struggled the last few years to make ends meet. Always one to want to support herself, though, Jones pushed on, often working as a substitute teacher.

Living off limited resources and her all but depleted retirement savings, she was doing a fairly decent job at keeping up with bills. That’s when the worst happened.

A nasty fall, coupled with a lasting illness from pneumonia in 2012, left her all but unable to return to work full time. Little by little, things began to stack up and Jones, falling farther behind on her power bill, began to wonder what to do, especially with only a few family members to turn to.

That’s when a friend told her about the Woodyard Fund, administered by the Salvation Army. The Woodyard Fund helps people in Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Newberry counties during the coldest months of the year – November through March.

“I got this wonderful lady on the phone,” Jones said. “At that point, I didn’t know if she could help me or not.”

But after just one appointment, Jones’ $292 bill was paid in full.

“I was blessed that that burden was taken off me,” she said.

Jones says she is grateful for the Salvation Army and those who donated to the fund, and says now she can concentrate on getting better in 2013.

“I’ve been writing some letters and trying to get back on the right track,” she said.

Reach Lucas at (803) 771-8657.

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