Enquirer Herald

Tough times will persist into 2010 for local families

The economy and tough times have taken a toll on many families in York County and Betty and Billy Bolin are no exception. They are struggling to stay warm every day.

“We lost our home in a fire two years ago. We had a little insurance on the house and no insurance on the inside, so we could only rebuild until the money ran out,” Betty Bolin said. “We stayed temporarily with our daughter and her family of four in a small trailer until we could move back in,” she added.

“We have family members who were able to help with the re-building, so that helped,” Bolin's daughter, Brenda Ray added. “Even with that, the house is not completed and there is no heating system to keep my parents warm. I worry about them.”

“My husband is trying so hard. He works seven days a week when he can to keep the paycheck coming to try to pay the bills,” Bolin said. “He doesn't always get 40 hours a week and he also volunteers on the fire department. It is tough to support the family.”

The net income is not making ends meet for the Bolins and their 15-year-old son. The paychecks go towards groceries, utilities, car insurance and for a little propane each week to try to give the family some limited heat.

“I have not worked in six or seven years due to my medical problems,” Betty Bolin said. “We don't have insurance to pay for my medicines.” She recently was able to get her needed medications changed to take advantage of the reduced prescription plans available at Walmart stores. Bi-Lo at Lake Wylie is matching the $4 prescription plan to help those needing medications.

Her daughter has been trying to make contacts to provide medical care for her mother.

“In addition to her other health problems, she has a baseball size tumor on her back, but can't have the surgery to remove it,” Ray said. “My mother is really stressed over their living situation right now.”

Bolin said that in addition to her medical issues, she has always had a hard time getting a job because she quit school in the 7th grade.

“I can't really read or anything because I did not graduate,” volunteered Bolin.

According to Bolin, the family has tried to get food stamps and has been fortunate to get some food from the Clover Area Assistance Center.

“I was able to get a few Christmas gifts from Santa's Closet at the Center for my son, but what I am really trying to get for us is some heat,” Bolin stated.

“I am grateful for the help from the Center.”

The CAAC has been helping families since 1982 when many area textile businesses cut employment and families needed assistance with finances and food. The non-profit agency serves those residing within the boundaries of the Clover School District. Food, health services and financial assistance are available through the CAAC.

The Center also offers referral and advocacy programs, and works to increase self-sufficiency for those needing help from the CAAC. More than 83 percent of those served live below the poverty level.

“We were shocked to find that we had 487 new clients in the first nine months of 2009,” Dona Van Leer, the Operations Manager reported.

“Help with heating and water is what has been most requested recently. We have limited financial resources right now so our help is tight,” Van Leer continued. “We are so very thankful for all the help from residents and businesses in Clover and Lake Wylie. They have helped unload trucks and anything else needed at the Center to help others.”

The River Hills Lions and Lioness Clubs along with more than 150 area businesses and community donors have been supporting the Center for many years. Additional volunteers donating as few as three hours per month are needed along with donations of food, finances, and services Van Leer added.

“Sharing with those in need has been a big part of the local area and we are so thankful. We received over 500 blankets and over 1,000 coats through donations. This is a great help to keep our clients warm,” Van Leer said.

To help the Bolin family and other families in need, contact Van Leer at (803) 222-4837 or at donacaac@bellsouth.net . Donations can be made for specific families by noting on the memo line of a check or making Van Leer aware of the designated donation. Donations made to the general pool of finances, food, and services will be distributed by the Center.

CAAC is open Mondays and Wednesdays 1-4 p.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m. – noon at 1130 Highway 55 East in Clover.