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Woodyard fund: Woman wants to return favor

Michelle Zeigler, was visiting the Salvation Army recently when a notice about the Woodyard Fund caught her eye.

"I saw a sign offering help to pay your electric bill, and I was curious," Zeigler said.

The 45-year-old had good reason to be. Her power bill had increased by more than $60 following a cold December.

Living on a fixed income, Zeigler wasn't sure how she would make ends meet. So she spoke with someone at the Salvation Army about the Woodyard Fund, which helps families struggling to keep their heat on during the winter months.

"When my budget changes, I worry," said Zeigler, adding that had the Woodyard Fund not been able to help pay her heating bill, it would have affected how much money she had for food.

While Zeigler hasn't applied for funding before, she found the application process simple and learned later that same day that she would be eligible for help.

"I was very happy," Zeigler said. "Lord knows I needed it."

Since receiving support from the Woodyard Fund, Zeigler said, it has motivated her to want to do more for the community.

"When I get back on my feet, I'd like to contribute to the fund to help others like I've been helped," she said.

The Woodyard Fund traces its origins to 1816, when the Ladies Benevolent Society provided firewood 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 that can be redeemed at businesses that provide heating services. The Salvation Army reimburses the businesses for the amounts of the vouchers.

Zeigler said knowing the fund is there for her and others is a comfort.

"It is good for the community. It shows service and that somebody out there cares," Zeigler said.

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