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Volunteers upgrade energy efficiency at women’s shelter

Travis Branham, left, Blaine Richardson, and Chace Mathias from SCE&G work on improvements at the Samaritan's Well, a transitional home for women and children in Lexington. The volunteers rehabbed the exterior yard, gardens and fencing and made energy efficient modifications to the inside.
Travis Branham, left, Blaine Richardson, and Chace Mathias from SCE&G work on improvements at the Samaritan's Well, a transitional home for women and children in Lexington. The volunteers rehabbed the exterior yard, gardens and fencing and made energy efficient modifications to the inside. tglantz@thestate.com

A Lexington women’s and children’s shelter is a little more energy-efficient these days – and just in time for hot weather – thanks to the efforts of some SCE&G employees.

Volunteers from the company gathered at the Samaritan’s Well last week to install fans, wrap pipes, seal ducts and make other upgrades designed to reduce energy use. They also installed new energy-efficient appliances that included a washer, dryer, refrigerators and tank-free water heaters – all purchased with a $5,000 donation from SCE&G.

Shelter director Mona Henderson said SCE&G had recommended replacing the appliances during an energy audit several years ago, but the shelter couldn’t afford it.

“This is an amazing, abundant blessing,” Henderson said. “It provides me with peace of mind.”

Henderson said lowering monthly costs will leave the shelter more resources to help women find jobs and homes. Some of the shelter’s regular programs include children’s enrichment activities and financial education for the residents.

“Our goal is to help residents become self-sustaining,” she said.

SCE&G President Keller Kissam presented shelter representatives with a check to cover the cost of the appliances and a basket of toys for its children’s area.

“I’m proud of our employees who serve their neighbors electricity and natural gas,” Kissam said. “I’m even prouder when their spirit of volunteerism shines through community programs such as Samaritan’s Well.”

The weatherization event was held in partnership with the S.C. Office of Economic Opportunity and the Aiken/Barnwell/Lexington Community Action Agency and was one of several planned by SCE&G this month.

A $29,000 gift for better breathing

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has joined the Jeffrey Lee Williams Foundation to provide 1,000 carbon monoxide alarms and 20 carbon monoxide air monitors to households and fire departments throughout Lexington and Richland counties.

The equipment was made possible by a $29,000 grant presented by Fire House to the foundation last week at the South Carolina State House.

The Jeffrey Lee Williams Foundation seeks to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by increasing public awareness of carbon monoxide dangers. The foundation was named for 11-year-old Jeffrey Lee Williams, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in June 2013 after he and his mother visited a hotel room that did not have a functioning carbon monoxide detector.

“We’re truly grateful to the Carbon Monoxide Safety Consortium of Greater Columbia for spearheading this lifesaving initiative, going door to door to install the carbon monoxide alarms at no charge to residents,” said Robin Peters, Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation executive director. “Carbon monoxide poisoning is a completely preventable death, and this public safety issue is close to our hearts.”

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