When Tameka Randal began falling behind on her monthly power bill, the mother of two with one on the way didn’t know what she was going to do.
Then one of her neighbors at Columbia Housing Authority’s Latimer Manor Apartments told her about the Woodyard Fund, which helps people in Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Newberry counties during the coldest months of the year.
“I was really about to go crazy because I didn’t know how to pay my bill this month,” she says.
Randal, who has been taking a career development class through the Housing Authority, has been working hard to improve her job prospects.
The goal of the month-long course is to help participants find work and determine, though a research project, what career path is right for them.
With the help of her mother, who watches her two young children during the day, Randal goes to class every day for four hours. Having once considered cosmetology, she is now interested in becoming a home inspector and is researching programs in the area.
But while working toward career goals is a worthwhile endeavor, it can still be a struggle along the way. When Randal began falling behind on some of her bills earlier this year, she decided to take her neighbor’s advice and call the Salvation Army, which administers the Woodyard Fund.
“I was hoping I wouldn’t miss the phone call, but I didn’t,” she says. “They called in the middle of class.”
Two days later, Randal’s power bill was paid in full.
These days Randal is busy with homework and finishing her research project. She’s also getting ready for the new baby, due this summer.
She says she feels fortunate for the people who donate to the fund and for the neighbor who told her about it when she did.
“It was like a blessing,” she says. “And really it just came out of nowhere.”
Reach Lucas at (803) 771-8657.
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.
Woodyard Fund contributions
For the week ending Feb. 15
J.B. Kneece, $200
John F. Folley, $200
Willann K. Woodward, $250
Ladies Adult Sunday School class at First Calvary Baptist Church, $100
In memory of Betty Ravan Hensley, $25
Dorothy B. Johnson, $50
Seekers Sunday School class at Trinity United Methodist Church, $25
Harold P. Pruitt Jr., $300
Paul and Frances Weldon, $100
Maureen Mitchell, $35
Carol Heitlinger, $100
Charles R. Turner, $200
Samuel W. Finklea, $20
In memory of my parents, Ben T. and Dora L. Wall, $200
TOTAL THIS WEEK $1,905
TOTAL TO DATE $92,030.50