During a transition period from job-to-job, one Midlands resident found herself in a pinch when it came to paying her power bill.
With four children to take care of, Tomeka Thomas in Columbia, was getting increasingly worried that their lights would be shut off.
She called several agencies looking for help until she came across a referral to the fund by the 2-1-1 telephone service.
“I was out of work and I was in the process of starting a news job,” Thomas said. “I called them and they referred me to the Salvation Army and told me they have funding for people in a crisis.”
The Woodyard Fund continues to help those in need in the Midlands, thanks entirely to the generous donations of local residents and groups.
The fund traces its roots to 1816, when the Ladies Benevolent Society provided firewood and coal to families in need. The society then turned management of the charity over to the Salvation Army around the 20th century.
In 1930, William E. Gonzales, then editor of The State newspaper, began publicizing the fund and those it helped, a tradition the newspaper continues today.
For those who need the help, its not always just for warmth or light. In Tomeka’s case, she needed the power to remain on for her two daughters who require breathing machines for their asthma.
She is grateful for the help, but knows she’s not alone.
“Some people really do need the help,” she said. “You work really hard, but everyone still has a crisis at some point. It’s great knowing that there would be some outside help.”
The fund, which helps pay energy bills for Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Newberry County residents, typically runs from mid-November to mid-March.
This week’s donations totaled $2,890 pushed the total for the season past the century mark to $100,589.83