COLUMBIA, SC — Emma Jean Jamison has been looking for work since her job assignment as a security officer ended seven months ago.
The Columbia resident says she tries to be self-sufficient, but when faced with a $415 electricity bill last month, she decided to seek help from the Woodyard Fund.
Jamison was surprised the fund was able to cover the entire amount she owed.
“I felt overwhelmed,” she said. “I didn’t know they were going to pay that much at one time. My lights were going to be turned off that Monday, and they paid it that Friday. It was perfect timing.”
The Woodyard Fund helps pay energy bills for Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Newberry County residents who are in crisis situations. Managed by the Salvation Army, it usually runs from late November through mid-March, when temperatures are the lowest. Each applicant is screened to verify need and to ensure that no other resources are available.
Jamison acknowledges that getting help isn’t always easy and says she’s thankful that the Woodyard Fund was there for her when she needed it most. “I dialed the right number that day.”
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 beginning at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The phone line for assistance will be set to receive voice mail messages at 8:30 a.m., each Wednesday. The first 30 people to leave messages will be contacted for appointments for the following week. At other times, the line will provide general information about utility assistance and other programs.