An unexpected shakeup in employment status around Christmas sent one Columbia mother seeking help with utility expenses, with one nonprofit delivering relief.
Kimberlee Morris, a mother of two, visited the Salvation Army of the Midlands two weeks ago seeking help. Morris moved to Columbia a few months ago and worked at a behavioral health facility until it shuttered its doors right before Christmas.
Morris said she was familiar with the services the Salvation Army offered from her time working with people in need.
“We all get a turn ... when we find ourselves in crisis,” she said. “It’s not that I didn’t want to go to work. The company I worked for closed the doors, so I didn’t have an income. I’ve been to school, all of that. I just found myself in that situation.”
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Morris said when she found out the Salvation Army’s Woodyard Fund could help her pay her utilities, it was a great relief.
“I was very excited,” she said. “A big burden lifted off me.”
Morris is actively on the job search and trying to stay positive.
“I keep putting one foot in front of the other,” she said.
Morris said she found herself assisting people one minute then seeking assistance the next, so it is important to lend a helping hand.
“You just never know, you may need some help and to reach out,” she said. “Don’t forget about the people that may find themselves in the situation that I was in.”
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 Jan. 15
Stephen W. and Ann L. Schar, $100; Community Thanksgiving Offering West End, O’Neal, Mayer Churches, $68; Katherine W. Mahon, $100, in memory of Trina M. Williams; LTC (RET) and Mrs. Arthur A. Arduna, $100; Drs. Wayne W. and Joanne Herman, $200; Anonymous, $100; Dr. and Mrs. Jack M. Valpey, $150; James E. and Judith Lawrence, $20; J. Edwin Davis III and Jane W. Davis, $300; William C. Cantey, Jr., $100; Donald R. Creech CW2RET and Renate L. Creech, $50; Glenna R. McKee, $50, in memory of Mark A. “Andy” McKee; Douglas Potter, $200; Mr. and Mrs. R.S. Baston, $25; Frank R. Geiger, $50; Joan and Frank Marino, $100; SGM Ret. Willie D. Meekins, $100; Therese C. and Christopher L. Dionne, $100; Ansilee S. and William D. Broome, $100; Bobby E. Horton, $100; Kathleen E. O’Connor, $100; Maudalene Y. Reed, $25; Anonymous, $100, in memory of James R. Neese; Charles Gardner and Charles C. Gardner, Jr., $50; Richard H. Demarest and Oscar E. Mitchell, $100; The Ruth Sunday School Class at Temple Baptist Church, $50; Anonymous, $25
Weekly total: $2,563
Total to date: $61,756