Woodyard Fund helps mom tackle the high cost of heat

rfriedman@thestate.comFebruary 9, 2014 

  • Woodyard Fund

    How to give help : Mail donations 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.

— For Trenisha Brimfield, keeping her family warm hasn’t been easy.

The Columbia resident and mother of two says her home’s poor insulation has been an issue.

“I have a lot of cracks in the house,” she said, explaining that power bills routinely reach the $400-$500 range.

On top of that, Brimfield is currently unemployed. She said she’d like to find a job that allows her to work while her children are in school, but in the meantime she struggles to make ends meet each month.

Late last month, the overdue notices began to pile up. Brimfield said she already had requested several extensions and knew that if the bill wasn’t taken care of soon, her power would be turned off.

“It was nerve-racking,” she said.

To her relief, she was able to schedule an appointment with the Salvation Army to see whether she qualified for assistance from the Woodyard Fund.

The Woodyard Fund helps pay energy bills for Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Newberry County residents who are in crisis situations. Through the fund, eligible households get vouchers redeemable at businesses that provide heating services. The Salvation Army reimburses the businesses for the voucher amounts.

After meeting with a caseworker, Brimfield was approved for $300 toward her electricity bill, more than half of what she owed.

She said she’s grateful for the assistance she received from the Woodyard Fund, which was enough to keep her power on. She’s also glad that the program was in place to help her when she needed it most.

“Whoever came up with the idea, I wish I could shake their hand.”

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