COLUMBIA, SC — When Pansy Scott lost her janitorial job last February, she started looking for something else. The Columbia resident says she’s been seeking work ever since, but that the process often ends in disappointment.
“I didn’t get the last three jobs I thought I would get,” said Scott. “It’s real frustrating.”
With four boys to support and an overdue electricity bill to pay, she didn’t know where to turn. She says she even considered going door-to-door to ask for work cleaning houses. Then someone told her about the Woodyard Fund.
The Woodyard Fund helps pay energy bills for Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Newberry County residents who are in crisis situations. Each applicant is screened to verify need and to ensure that no other resources are available.
Now managed by the Salvation Army, the fund traces its origins to 1816, when the Ladies Benevolent Society provided firewood and, later, coal to families in need. It usually runs from late November through mid March, when temperatures generally are the lowest.
The State has publicized the fund each winter since 1930.
A Salvation Army representative reviewed Scott’s situation and said the Woodyard Fund would pay $265 toward her bill. Scott, whose power was due to be turned off the next day, said finding out she was approved for assistance was a weight off her shoulders.
“I got in my car and I thanked God,” she said. “Thank you for giving people a heart to help me with this light bill. We really appreciate it because it’s too cold for the lights to be turned off.”
In addition to worrying about the cold weather, Scott says she was also concerned about how losing power would affect her children. Now, her family can continue living life as normal while she focuses on finding a job.
“It gives a parent some sense of hope.”
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.