Milder winter – again – brings fewer donations

mlucas@thestate.comMarch 3, 2013 

— While the number of donations to the Woodyard Fund were down by almost 7 percent this year, public relations and volunteer coordinator Seth Taylor said the need is still there.

“Unfortunately, local people are still struggling to pay their bills,” Taylor said.

Toward the end of last week, the Woodyard Fund had received $108,350, down from the $116,468 the fund had received at this time last year.

Despite another mild winter, many Midlands families continued to find themselves struggling to pay power bills, he said.

The number of families the fund served, however, remained about the same. The fund this year helped 361 families or individual applicants, administrators said as the fund’s season draws to a close.

Beginning in 1930 with the donation of cords of wood for those in need of winter warmth, the Woodyard Fund today helps residents of Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Newberry counties pay their winter energy bills. Using community donations, the fund operates from November through March, when temperatures typically are coldest.

The fund is managed by The Salvation Army of the Midlands and publicized annually by The State newspaper.

Most people seeking assistance this year had experienced long-term unemployment or were no longer eligible for unemployment benefits, Taylor said.

“One thing that was true last year that is still true this year is that we have seen families struggling to face situations where two incomes became one income,” he said.

In addition, single mothers with children, the elderly and disabled continue to be the primary populations served by the fund.

As Taylor related, not having power can affect more than just a family’s ability to stay warm.

“It affects other parts of the household like refrigeration, laundry and lights,” he said. “(These are things) that can easily be taken for granted until a person is left without.”

In addition to seeking help with power bills, many residents received food from The Salvation Army’s food pantry. Taylor said the pantry is always in need of non-perishable items to meet the needs of local families struggling to afford groceries.

Woodyard Fund

Toward the end of last week, the Woodyard Fund had received $108,350, down from the $116,468 the fund had received at this time last year.

But it’s not too late to contribute. The campaign will continue to wrap up over the next few weeks. Funds received after the campaign closes will go toward next year’s campaign, or winter 2013-2014.

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.

In addition, donations of nonperishable food items can be made between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at The Salvation Army Center for Worship and Service, 3024 Farrow Road.

Woodyard Fund contributions

For the week ending March 1

Craig McDaniel, $50

J.B. Kneece, $200

The Shandon Book Club, $50

Anonymous, $100

S.C. Chadwell, $50

Marvin W. Spearman, $300

Sue N. Allen, $100

Kelly A. Lambert, $100

Wesley Fellowship Class #800210, $100

Robert B. Blake, $100

In memory of Donald Hall, $200

The Mullaney Agency, $25

In memory of Eddie, $100

St. John Neumann Crisis Ministry, $100

Anonymous Fund of Central Carolina Comm. Foundation, $1,000

St. Cameron Society, $150


TOTAL TO DATE $97,105.50

Reach Lucas at (803) 771-8657.

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