CONWAY, S.C. (WPDE) - When the weather is cold like it's been, there are plenty of people who can't afford to stay warm, and we're not just talking about the homeless. You may assume because someone is indoors, they've got working heat. But that wasn't the case for a Conway woman, who says she struggled to get help when her heat stopped working.
The Grand Strand and Pee Dee are known for scorching temperatures during the summer and the surrounding months. There's always plenty of concern about making sure people don't overheat. But when the temperature drops to freezing for several nights in a row, people like Pat, who didn't want us to reveal her last name, must deal with tough circumstances.
"When it got real cold, I had clothes on, I had seven shirts, pants. I had about eight blankets. It was very cold," she explained.
Pat's heating unit stopped working a couple months ago. Since she's on a fixed income, she couldn't afford to replace it.
"Every organization you call, they say they can't help you. There's nothing they can do," she said. "I'm sure there's other people besides me that is sitting in their homes that are cold."
Pat called the WPDE NewsChannel 15 newsroom earlier this week looking for assistance. We were able to connect her with Carolina Cool, and they've been working with her.
With the help of a concerned couple, Pat now has an electric blanket and a space heater.
"It's been a big difference. Last night was the first night that I have not gotten cold in a long time," she added.
Pat is a senior citizen who suffers from a number of health issues and is on oxygen. She'd like an organization or the county to provide assistance to people like her. "When there's a hurricane or something they have places for people to go. Why can't they have places for people to go when it's cold?"
She's much warmer now, but the next obstacle she faces is an increased electricity bill from running a space heater. "I just got a phone call from Horry Electric that Waccamaw EOC won't even help you pay your light bill unless you have a full furnace. They won't help you with the space heater," she told us.
Carolina Cool is trying to get Pat help from LIHEAP, a state program that will provide a new heating and cooling unit for her.