The Sumter Item's Fireside Fund ends its donation season

Sumter United Ministries director says thanks for helping community

By BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 3/13/18

Sumter United Ministries Executive Director Mark Champagne said having the additional resources made available through The Sumter Item's annual Fireside Fund this winter has helped the ministry make a big difference in the Sumter community.

The …

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The Sumter Item's Fireside Fund ends its donation season

Sumter United Ministries director says thanks for helping community

Posted

Sumter United Ministries Executive Director Mark Champagne said having the additional resources made available through The Sumter Item's annual Fireside Fund this winter has helped the ministry make a big difference in the Sumter community.

The fund, which was established in 1969 by the newspaper and finished collecting donations for the season, gives all monies to Sumter United Ministries to help needy families and individuals pay heating bills or buy heating fuels to stay warm during the winter months.

This year, Fireside Fund raised $39,824.01 through Monday.

"Obviously, we're very grateful," Champagne said. "It's a lot of money that comes in to help people in Sumter with their heating utility. Especially this year, we've had a pretty cold winter, and now it seems we're back into it again. So, it's been extremely helpful to give us a little more latitude to do some things that are very beneficial to some of our neighbors in Sumter."

Champagne said he was appreciative to The Sumter Item for using its platform to share information and reach many people by establishing and carrying on the fund.

He said it's a great example of a business being creative to give and help others. Champagne said United Ministries has several other businesses that contribute in some way to help the ministry.

"I really love it," Champagne said. "It's very indicative of this community. So many people want to help others. When I look around and talk with other agencies like ours, it's not a normal thing to have such a caring community like ours."

Champagne said United Ministries will interview people who need assistance with heating utilities through March 31. Anyone in need of assistance with heating costs may call Sumter United Ministries at (803) 775-0757.

Since its founding, Fireside Fund has brought in nearly $1.6 million in donations from generous readers.

This winter's Fireside Fund was 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 for the week ending Monday March 12, 2018:

Evelyn Mitchell, $50; St. John Friendship Circle, $75; in honor of Dianne Tidwell from Charlie Pitts, $25; in memory of Dr. Otis Hill from Julian Hill, $100; in memory of John Brabham Sr. and Elliott LeNoir from Bubba and Dianne LeNoir, $100; and the Stateburg Literacy Society, $50.

Total combined anonymous: $1,150

Total this week: $1,550

Total this year: $39,824.01

Total last year: $48,601.18

Total since 1969: $1,580,412.25