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Keeping people W.A.R.M. for 26 years
Marie Sheheen of United Way of Kershaw County and homeowner Hattie Rose, whose home was repaired by Project W.A.R.M. volunteers. - photo by Photos provided by Amy Pope/LSUMC

Project W.A.R.M. (Weatherization and Repair Ministry) recently finished its 26th year of helping less fortunate citizens in the county repair their homes to better cope with winter weather.

The ministry began in 1989 in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Hugo at the urging of the Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church youth. However, because of the excitement it generated, W.A.R.M. continued as a winter ministry of LSUMC and has grown into a community wide effort, say W.A.R.M. organizers.

Each year volunteers spend a weekend in January working on homes selected through an application process vetted through the United Way of Kershaw County.

Twenty six years and hundreds of homes later, Project W.A.R.M. shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, this year some 60 volunteers ranging in age from 14-85 years old joined forces to repair a dozen homes in Kershaw County. The volunteers came from fourteen area churches, including LSUMC, Camden First UMC, Grace Episcopal, Emmanuel UMC, St. John’s UMC, St. Matthew UMC, St. Paul UMC, Springhill UMC, Gordon Street Church of God, Mt. Zion Baptist, St. Matthew Baptist, Union Baptist, Edwards Chapel AME, and River Church all joined hands to repair a dozen homes across the county.

To see this type of all inclusive community engagement and loving spirit is truly inspiring and impressive, noted Amy Pope of Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church. Volunteers may have different reasons for getting involved but they all seem to share the same sense of being called to serve.

"We have a Godly responsibility to serve each other," Rev. Walter Robinson, pastor of Union Baptist Church, Rembert, said. "This is our way to help our brothers and sisters in need. Matthew 25:40 says that when we serve others, we are serving God."

"Warm is a blessing!" David Engram, a volunteer and member of St. Matthew United Methodist Church said. "This is my way of giving back."

Kristin Lassiter of Irmo, who has volunteered for a number of years, agreed.

"Giving my time and service -- for just one day -- can make such a major impact the lives of the families we help," she said.

Those homeowners who benefit from the efforts of the Project W.A.R.M. volunteers are appreciative and thankful as well.

"What a beautiful job they’ve done!" Elease Williams, a homeowner said. "I can’t help but love them!"