Sumter Fireside Fund gets $4.2K in 1st week; kerosene helps client on Social Security


I can virtually sing the theme song to "Who's The Boss?" word for word. It was a favorite show of mine as a kid. The intro to the show always featured an old van driving through the city. Now, what made me think of that van?

Recently, a client interviewed at the Crisis Relief Ministry in need of kerosene. It was no surprise. As the low temperatures dipped into the mid-20s this week, I expected it. Many of our clients own older mobile homes that have malfunctioning central air units. Because they cannot afford thousands of dollars to replace an HVAC system, they opt for kerosene heaters to heat their home.

Our client is in his late 60s and lives alone on a Social Security income of less than $1,000 monthly. He makes ends meet, but he has virtually nothing left. On some winter months, the cost of kerosene may push him into negative territory financially. He comes to us yearly, rarely having a crisis but still demonstrating why he needs help. His options and income are very restrictive.

As I looked through our notes from previous interviews, I was asking myself if anything had changed from previous years. One big change existed: a 35-year-old van that he bought last year with his stimulus check!

He recently had a stroke, and as part of his recovery, he was scheduled for physical therapy, which he still attends. Therefore, the small amount of car insurance and a little gasoline had furthered his struggle. He was quick to point out how inflation is affecting him, citing the cost of groceries and gasoline. He is correct that inflation unfairly affects the poor.

Here is a man who is content with having his needs met. A beat-up old van may not be enviable, but to him it was a luxury and a means. At Sumter United Ministries, we have great joy in sharing time with pure, humble souls like this client. Thank you for contributing to the Fireside Fund and empowering us to help provide heat to those who truly need it!

New donations as of Nov. 23: Charles Pitts, $100; Dorothy Cheagle, $50; Lola and Eugene Nolan, $102.76; American Legion Auxiliary Sumter Unit 15, $150; Frances Cecil, $100; James Jones, $3,500; Judy & Walter Newman, in honor of Louise Newman Smith, $150; and Church of the Ascension ACW Ellen Ellerbe Chapter, $50.