Community Builder: Midlands woman is 'Miracle Mender' for Homeless

Community Builder: Midlands woman is 'Miracle Mender' for Homeless

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A fight with cancer has not stopped one Midlands woman from giving back to those less fortunate.

In fact, in her recovery, Phyllis Wood has only continued to do more for Columbia's homeless. Every month, Wood and a group of women known as the Miracle Menders, lend their talents to the people who stay at Transitions, a non-profit center for the homeless in Columbia.

"People bring us purses and backpacks and jackets," Wood said.

Wood started the group not long after Transitions opened in 2011.

"I was really impressed because they were not just a shelter that gave a person a bed for the night, they were a place where they could get their lives back together," Wood said.

Wood was working at South Carolina 211, the state's information hotline service, when she learned about Transitions. She then started volunteering her time with other women to mend clothes for the homeless.

"They have so little with them, I wanted to be able to help them," said Wood.

Giving back has always been in Wood's nature. She and her husband served as foster parents to more than 30 children. Then in 2013, when Wood was diagnosed with Stage IV Bone Cancer, she was still focused on others. When Wood was told her prognosis was grim, she had her family set-up a fund for the clients of Transitions.

"The Phyllis Fund is money that's available specifically to help with some of the out of the ordinary expenses that always come up," Craig Currey, Transitions CEO, said. "Often we'll find we'll have to get a birth certificate from somewhere around the country, or some licensing fees, some back debt that is hard to pay off, various strange sorts of things The fund is designed to cover expenses that we can't get through other sources."

And while the fund was made to be in her memory, it's now alive and well, like Phyllis, and named in her honor. That's another reason why it was our honor to surprise her with the news that she's our latest Community Builder.

It was a moment that Wood, who is always giving, had a hard time accepting.

"That is so sweet," Wood said. "I don't feel like I've done anything."

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