Some Midlands residents are counting their blessings this holiday season.
Felicia Shull, a single mother of two, had heard about families who needed help to stay warm in the winter months.
She never thought that hers would be one of those families.
But after realizing the coming months could be a struggle, Shull decided to reach out to the Salvation Army and the Woodyard Fund for help keeping her power on.
“We may not have money,” she said, “but we have shelter and lights, and that is what’s important.”
The Woodyard Fund, which usually runs from late November through mid-March, helps pay energy bills for Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Newberry County residents who are in crisis situations.
Shull was working in customer service for a temp agency but recently lost her job and now is looking for a new one.
Still, she remains thankful during this holiday season.
“Just having the necessities right now” is helpful, Shull said.
As many continue to struggle with job losses and other financial strains, the Woodyard Fund is there to help.
The program shows there are people in the Midlands who care, said Shull, adding it is something she has had conversations about with her children.
“They are young, but so understanding,” Shull said. “I teach them the real meaning of the Christmas season and that giving is the most important thing.”
The Woodyard Fund traces its origins to 1816, when the Ladies Benevolent Society provided firewood, and later coal, to families in need. The society turned management of the charity over to the Salvation Army around the turn of the 20th century.
Through the fund, eligible households get vouchers redeemable at businesses that provide heating services. Each applicant also is screened to verify the need.
“I just want to say how thankful I am to the Woodyard Fund and how thankful we are to have them,” Shull said.