Under tough personal circumstances, Sumter woman receives fund assistance

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 1/23/18

Thanks to the continued donations to help many Sumterites with emergency heating needs, Fireside Fund keeps making an impact for Sumter United Ministries' Crisis Relief Ministry, according to director Kevin Howell.

Last week, Howell described the …

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Under tough personal circumstances, Sumter woman receives fund assistance

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Thanks to the continued donations to help many Sumterites with emergency heating needs, Fireside Fund keeps making an impact for Sumter United Ministries' Crisis Relief Ministry, according to director Kevin Howell.

Last week, Howell described the unfortunate circumstances facing one female client of the ministry who recently was in need of propane.

The lady - in her 50s - works full time but earns a very modest income, Howell said.

"She earns just enough to survive but also too much to qualify for many government programs that could further assist her," Howell said.

The woman has a large propane tank on her property that delivers the fuel to heat her home. When the tank needs a refill, it costs her between $500 to $700, and she generally saves to prepare for that expense, according to Howell.

However, recently she was out of work for several months, recovering from a leg operation. During the time, she didn't receive any pay or short-term disability income, Howell said.

Also, in the past when she would be in a pinch, she would call on her adult son to see if he could financially assist her. But, Howell said, the son was tragically killed in the past year.

As January's cold weather moved in earlier this month, her propane began to run low, and she had no one to turn to for help, according to Howell.

"She is motivated to meet her own needs, but she had to turn to us for help," Howell said. "She had just returned to work but hadn't received a paycheck yet, and her propane bill arrived. In order to keep her home warm, she would need substantial financial assistance."

According to Howell, the Crisis Relief Ministry provided what she couldn't financially to ensure the propane was delivered in order to heat her home.

The woman was very happy with the ministry's assistance.

"She was ecstatic, thanking staff and volunteers with tears in her eyes," Howell said. "It was a moving resolution to an identifiable hardship."

Howell said the ministry is grateful for any and all donations to help those in need during the winter months.

This winter's Fireside Fund is dedicated to the memory of former Sumter County Sheriff Tommy Mims, who died in December 2016.

Mims joined the sheriff's office as a deputy in 1965, and after 23 years of service, he was elected sheriff in 1988. Mims served as sheriff for 16 years until his retirement in 2004.

Throughout his tenure in law enforcement, Mims was seen as a mentor and father figure to the men and women he led. He was also considered a dedicated public servant by many Sumterites.

Donations can be mailed to The Sumter Item, P.O. Box 1677, Sumter, SC 29151, or dropped off at 36 W. Liberty St.

Anyone in need of assistance with heating costs may call Sumter United Ministries at (803) 775-0757.

Donations ending the week of Friday, Jan. 19:

In memory of our friends who have passed away in 2017-18 from the Bob Reagan Life Group at Alice Drive Baptist Church from the Rev. and Mrs. Wayne Hunter, $50; in memory of Thomas B. Barnes III from Deborah Barnes, $50; Dr. Michael S. Towery and Sue Towery, $100; Ronald and Sue Pitts, $200; in memory of Charles Shaw from Hugh Stoddard, $100; Gail Medley, $100; Nu Master Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, $25; Steve Corley, $200; in memory of Lella and Taylor Sutton from Bruce Blumberg, $200; in memory of Peggy Hackett from Alice Andrews/Michaux Bible Class of Bethel United Methodist Church of Oswego, $160; in memory of Bill Carter from Mr. and Mrs. Cliff Goodwin, $150; in honor of Kira and Bobby Galloway from Charlie Pitts, $25; Dalzell Divas Red Hats, $80; Shaw Heights Baptist Church Adult 3 Sunday School Class, $100; Mr. and Mrs. W D McDuffie, $100; in memory of J. T. "Bud" Rivers Jr., and Mary Rivers Hiller, $100.

Total anonymous this week: $250

Total this week: $1,990

Total last week: $1,210

Total this year: $32,859.01

Total last year: $48,601.18

Total since 1969: $1,573,447.25