Colder days bringing longer lines for those seeking heat help

Friday, Dec. 4, 2009 12:42 PM
Last updated 9:12 PM
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On one of the coldest mornings in recent months, more than 75 people bundled up in coats gathered at Augusta's May Park community center before 6:30 a.m. today.

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Lena Traylor of Appling signs paperwork with intake worker Gwendolyn Davis at May Park this morning. More than 125 people were seeking energy assistance from the CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority Friday morning.  Stephanie Toone/ Staff
Stephanie Toone/ Staff
Lena Traylor of Appling signs paperwork with intake worker Gwendolyn Davis at May Park this morning. More than 125 people were seeking energy assistance from the CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority Friday morning.

Within two hours, that number grew to more than 125.

The scene has been the same every morning at the community center for the last several weeks, said Annette Johnson, an intake worker for CSRA Economic Opportunity Authority.

Richmond and Columbia county residents apply for the authority’s energy assistance program at the center Monday through Friday.

This morning, the waiting residents were signing paperwork to verify their incomes and family household size in order to receive the money for their energy bills.

There’s an increase in the need each year when temperatures drop, Ms. Johnson said.

“Hard times,” she said are the two words that describe why so many people are seeking the authority’s assistance.

Lena Traylor, of Appling, drove from her home in the Clarks Hill area to downtown Augusta this morning hoping that she would get some financial assistance from the authority.

A senior citizen, Ms. Traylor said it’s hard to heat her home when temperatures drop below 40 degrees. Social Security is her only income, so the $310 the organization granted her will be helpful, she said.

“I try to conserve. I don’t run any heat at night, but it’s hard when all you have is Social Security,” she said. “This is really going to be a blessing to me. This will ease some of the burden on me.”

The scene has been the same at Aiken-Barnwell Community Action Agency, said Marieanne Petersen, senior administrator for the commission. As December begins, the organization is coming close to depleting its annual funds for energy assistance.

“We realize that people are working less hours. Some have not found work or are unable to work,” she said. “That’s why we have appointments lined up to assist people for the next three weeks.”

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YellowHammer 12/04/09 - 10:54 pm
So the taxpayers have to pay

So the taxpayers have to pay for these people who've made poor choices managing their finances. And we wonder why the country's full of a bunch of parasites nowadays.

gopackgo 12/05/09 - 12:06 am
While I hate being forced to

While I hate being forced to give a handout to someone undeserving, I do feel for those who have little recourse. I do not think it is fair to judge someone, especially a senior citizen, when you do not entirely know the circumstances. How do we know she did not have an illness that drained her life savings? Am I supposed to expect an elderly person to go get a job? What if they are disabled, infirmed, or otherwise unable? I think that this younger generation needs to learn a lesson from the "greatest generation" and recognize that sometimes a little compassion and sacrifice for those who cannot escape life's circumstances can go a long way. Mr. YellowHammer, I sincerely hope that you obtain all of life's great riches, because I would hate to have to give a handout to a parasitic cynic like yourself should you unfortunately be dealt an unfavorable hand in life.

With all of that said, I do not include welfare dynasties, street walking, drug pushing, I don't know my babies daddies, and otherwise lowlife people into the group of "people who have no recourse."

GGpap 12/05/09 - 02:20 am
gopackgo, WELL SAID. sir!

gopackgo, WELL SAID. sir! GGpap

seenitB4 12/05/09 - 06:45 am
I agree with you

I agree with you gopackgo,,,hammer will get older & wiser 1day..

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