In early August, Savannah Klicka was a single woman with no children, knowing how much it costs to raise them.
But later that month, she suddenly found herself in custody of her brother’s three children, two girls and a boy ages 3-8, after the Department of Social Services took them from their mother.
“I have no children, so I kind of went from no kids to kids,” she said.
Klicka, a West Columbia resident, said DSS gave her custody of the children because she was a close relative with a clean background and a stable living condition.
Still, the transition has had its challenges.
“It’s been a struggle since day one,” she said. “... There’s no words to describe it on some days.”
Klicka, who lives on a limited income, said she was originally told she would receive more money from DSS to help take care of the children than she was given, about $280 a month.
When the Oct. 4 floods severely damaged the Midlands, it also cost Klicka’s family. She said the children were home more, which meant more utilities use, and she had to buy more groceries and crafts to keep the children occupied when they were out of school.
“It just hit all at once,” she said.
After reading about the Salvation Army’s Woodyard Fund on Facebook, Klicka said she gave the nonprofit a call.
“I left a voicemail and they called me back,” she said. “I teared (when I was approved) because of the stress. It relieved so much stress.”
Klicka said the light bill was due three days after Christmas, not a good time for her and her new immediate family. Luckily, the Woodyard Fund gave her $300 to pay off her bills to keep her utilities on.
“It helps out tremendously,” she said. “I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. It just helped everything.”
The Woodyard Fund helps residents in crisis in Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Newberry counties pay for utilities. The fund dates to 1816, when the Ladies Benevolent Society provided firewood and coal to families in need. In 1930, The State newspaper’s editor, William E. Gonzales, began publicizing the fund. It became a tradition the newspaper continues every winter.
How to give help: Donations can be mailed to the Woodyard Fund, c/o The Salvation Army of the Midlands, P.O. Box 2786, 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 (803) 462-5093 for more information or to make an appointment for assistance.
Through Dec. 31
Bridget’s Super Club, $100; Ann E. Hoeing, $50; Anonymous, $300; James B., Abbie G., and James R. Bozard, $50; Ann G. Duncan, $100; Bertram Rantin, $100; William R. Hallman, $20; Dr. O’Neill Barrett Jr., $100, in memory of Elois Barrett; Eli L. Huffman, $1,000, in memory of AB Sanders; Dean H. Kress, $150; Dennis D. and Rosemary B. Wood, $50; Edward E. and Margaret M. Barker, $50; Carl J. and Sarah M. Blackmon, $100; Tommy A. and Connie B. Billas, $100, in memory of Buddy and Rosie Billas; Preferred Reinsurance Intermediaries Inc., $100; Anonymous, $2,000; Ebenezer Lutheran Church Ruth Circle, $100; Willing Helpers Club of Second Calvary Baptist Church, $100; The Riley Class at Temple Baptist Church, $100; Rachel L. Binnicker, $25; Anonymous, $100; Anonymous, $50; Byrd Family Trust, $200; Lex and Cathy Knox, $250; McNair Bible Class at Platt Springs UMC, $200; Virginia D. and William Tuller, $500, in memory of Carroll J. and William P. DuBose; Mary Ellen Tolan, $100; Anonymous, $100; Colleen A. Morrow, $50; Grover C. and Patricia S. Shuler, $100; The Coggins Family Christmas Fund, $500, in honor of Betty S. Coggins; Steve and Jan Hawley, $1,000; J.B. Kneece, $250; Anonymous, $50, in memory of my parents; Jeffery L. Twiss and N. Carolyn Schanen, $250; Carol S. Kirby, $50; Freda R. Spigener, $100, in memory of Murray (Hampton) Rucker; P.N. Poulos, $100; James L. and Beverly A. Telfer, $500; Anonymous, $250; John E. and Cindy L. Bowman, $500; William M. Harley III and Mollie Milner Harley, $100
Weekly total: $9,995
Total to date: $50,605