After a work disability left her without a job three years ago, Patricia Mayers needed cash to pay her electric bill.
The $48 a week she was receiving for her disability wasn't enough to pay all the bills. That's when she discovered the Woodyard Fund, which helps families struggling to pay their heating bills.
"I called the United Way hot line number because my lights were about to be turned off, and they recommended the Woodyard Fund," Mayers said. "I called them, and they told me to bring my bill down and the information they needed, and they paid my bill."
This winter marked the third time Mayers has relied on the fund to help heat her home. Her electric bill each month runs around $170.
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Mayers is grateful for the fund and understands how much it has made a difference in her life.
"It has helped me out tremendously," Mayers said. "Without it I would have been cold and sitting in the dark this winter."
The Woodyard Fund was started in 1816 by the Ladies Benevolent Society to provide firewood to less fortunate families.
In 1930, the fund received more attention after William E. Gonzales, then editor of The State newspaper, began to publicize it and those it has benefited.
Currently, the Woodyard Fund helps residents in Richland, Lexington, Fairfield and Newberry counties and usually runs from November to March when temperatures are lowest.