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WARM, repairing homes in Kershaw County for 25 years

Posted: February 12, 2015 5:23 p.m.
Updated: February 13, 2015 1:00 a.m.
Photos provided by Lee Inabinet/

Ethel Anderson, a member of Gordon St. Church of God and Richard Hagins, a member of Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church, were WARM volunteers.

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As winter continues, many might take for granted having a home which provides comfortable shelter from the cold.

Kershaw County’s Weatherization And Repair Ministry (WARM) works to ensure those who do not have such luxury are served and not forgotten. WARM repairs and weatherizes homes, providing whatever services volunteers can provide -- from plumbing to repairing roofs.

“I could take you in 10 miles of here and show you poverty that would break your heart,” WARM Leader Joel Peacock said. “One time (working with WARM), I saw a lady living in a mobile home and a part of the roof was caved in. There was no power, water or heat, just a pile of old clothes and blankets. She would crawl under there to sleep. In our small way, we are trying to make a difference in these people’s lives.”

This year, WARM volunteers from numerous local churches repaired 14 houses during its two-day work span.

Richard and Sara Hagins founded WARM in 1989 to help repair homes damaged by Hurricane Hugo.

“Sara passed away last year. She was proof that angels walk on earth, she was reason WARM grew and prospered.” Peacock said.

The ministry became known as WARM in 1993. As the ministry grew, Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church (LSUMC) decided to expand it to other churches.

“In 2001, it expanded to three churches and continued to expand,” Peacock said.

During that particular year the ministry repaired 15 homes in one weekend.

Homeowners who want to be considered for a WARM project contact the United Way of Kershaw County Housing Coordinator Marie Sheheen.

“(She) takes their information and gives a list of homes to me that WARM might be able to help with. I go out and look at them and try to narrow them down,” Peacock said.

Peacock said repairs have grown more complex during the years.

“We started doing relatively simple tasks, but now it’s more complicated. We have progressed from putting plastic over windows and putting weather strips around doors to completely replacing shingles on a house in two days.” Peacock said.

What repairs can be made and the number of homes repaired varies based on the number of volunteers. WARM is held around winter break with this in mind.

“The project is done the week after Christmas to incorporate youth,” Peacock said.

Peacock said partner churches for WARM are another important component.

“Churches participate at the level they are able to. Some can give money. Some churches are very small and don’t have funding to support but they help with labor. Churches just do what they can. Lyttleton Street is a larger church but … we depend on other churches, we can’t do it on our own.” Peacock said.

Peacock emphasized volunteers don’t have to be associated with a church to help out.

“This is open to any church and to anyone. You don’t have to have a religious affiliation as long as you are willing to give time,” he said.

Thanks to donations, WARM had enough money to operate this year. Peacock said he considers it a blessing.

“We had some money left over … after the $3,000 donation from Second Look Charities, a local mission donation from Lyttleton United Methodist Church and some participating churches also gave. We went into the project limited and came out in good shape financially because of donations of materials,” Peacock said.

WARM has even spread to other parts of the state to assist those who need it.

“It has grown. It’s been taken to the Florence area and there are also WARM projects in Columbia and in the northern part of the state. It’s not just limited to us anymore,” Peacock said.

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