WINNSBORO — When Shannon Woodard decided she needed to do everything in her power to help the people of Columbia, she arranged to have a bus from the Fairfield County School District parked at Walmart in Winnsboro with the intentions of getting enough donations to fill it.
It was an ambitious endeavor to be sure, and she was a little concerned about meeting her goal.
“The response from the community was so overwhelming that I am still smiling from ear to ear and crying tears of joy and gratitude,” she said.
With Fairfield Central’s football team, cheerleaders and many other students and staff helping, there was plenty to cheer for on a soggy day. It was more than Woodard could have hoped for.
“When the rain came, I was like, nobody is going to come out,” she said.
The people of Fairfield County responded and did so in a big way. Woodard’s plan to stuff a bus was such a success that they needed two additional buses.
And people weren’t just bringing the food and clothes requested.
“We’re going to go shopping in a minute. People have been dropping off money and everything,” she said.
The deluge of donations did lead to one logistical issue: Woodard had originally arranged to take the donations to Trenholm Methodist Church, but they did not have the room to house three bus loads.
Instead, the buses went to New Life World Ministry in Columbia.
“The staff there was so grateful of everything that was donated,” she said.
Woodard, along with many who volunteered, also toured the facility and were able to see firsthand the need in the community.
“We met several families that were able to stop by and pick up supplies,” ” she said. “I received an update on Monday that the community continues to be blessed by donations.”
Woodard was quick to point out that she was not alone in her efforts.
“I could not have done this project without the help of so many,” she added.
Among the volunteers were J.R. Green, superintendent of Fairfield County Schools; Tracie Swilley, principal of Fairfield Central High School; Coach Demetrius Davis and the Griffin football team; Fairfield Central’s cheerleaders; Athletic Director Terrell Roach; members of Washington Street Baptist Church; and many more.
The outpouring of support has pushed a real sense of pride in the community. Fairfield County has provided, and continues to provide, a great deal of support to those affected by the flooding.
Woodard perhaps said it best: “I love my hometown and I am proud to say that I live here.”
Relief efforts are ongoing and officials are still asking for all the support they can get. The American Red Cross has opened numerous shelters throughout the state and the United Way is still working with volunteers to collect and distribute Flood Buckets that contain supplies to help with recovery and clean-up efforts.
For more information on how you can help, call American Red Cross at 1-800-RED CROSS, United Way at 211, or the South Carolina Baptist Association at 803-227-6031.
Reach James Inabinet at 803-635-4016.