MARION, S.C. —U.S. Congressman Tom Rice helped contribute more than $9,000 in donations to the Marion County Council on Aging Tuesday. He was joined by Walmart Area Manager Chris Weldon and Marion Walmart store manager Willie Holland for the check presentation that is part of an effort to support the program during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We put up $25,000 and Walmart is putting up $25,000,” Rice said. “C.M. Tucker Lumber Company is putting up $5,000 and Anderson Brothers Bank is putting up $2,500 for all eight counties in the district.”

Rice said it felt awesome to contribute.

“I’ve been involved in communities and charities like this my whole life,” Rice said. “It’s one thing to hold a job like this, which is such a great honor to support people like this on the ground that are literally a life-line to people. It’s extra important today when the people that they serve are the most vulnerable to this disease.”

Marion County Council on Aging Executive Director Lisa Brewer and her staff were busy preparing to deliver more than 200 meals to senior citizens.

“We appreciate it so much,” she said. “We need it. Being a non-profit and all we could use any extra funds.”

Rice said during his time away from Washington D.C. he has visited homes to talk to his constituents and calls it the most gratifying experience to see people and communicate with them.

“The goal is to help this group a little bit with our donation but even more is to call attention to what they’re doing and how important it is right now,” Rice said. “This is a unique time in American History.”

Rice said it’s important to have the means to support and was thankful for Holland and Walmart for their support through the years, which includes responding to flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Florence.

Unable to do public appearances, Rice said he has spent most of his time lately on the phone helping local businesses find assistance.

“Instead of committee meetings we are doing conference calls,” he said. “I spend hours a day on the phone. I wanted to think of something I could do without endangering people and this was something that had to be done.”

Brewer said she was happy for the help to get senior citizens fed. Marion County Council on Aging delivers frozen meals to homes and hot meals within the city limits. Social distancing has put a stop to serving meals and activities on-site, she said.

“If they’re not already a client and they need a meal they can still come by and get some,” Brewer said. “We serve hot meals daily Monday through Friday and deliver frozen meals one time per week.”

For more information call 843-423-4391.

Born in Atlantic City; raised in Mullins. Graduated from SC State University, home of the mighty Bulldogs. Editor of the Marion Star & Mullins Enterprise. Loves spending free time with his daughter. Huge sports fan.

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