AUBURN, AL (WSFA) - Mary Turnbull has a few stories to tell, stories of heartaches and frustrations.
"I remember a lady who was embarrassed and looked down," said Turnbull.
Turnbull is the head of the Presbyterian Community Ministry in Auburn, and it is here where people such as single moms with children who are truly down on their luck. If it's the power bill, the ministry lends them up to $200.00, up to $5,000 for an emergency home repair job and just about anything else. Clients are expected to pay back the loan to the tune of $15.00 to $20.00 a month.
"We had a single mom who was close to getting evicted," said Turnbull.
In Lee County more and more people find themselves in desperate situations. Turnbull estimates her case load has risen 30%, 30% in the last 12 months. Much of it is because of the soft economy and rising prices.
"We've also seen a change in the kind of people coming in," said Turnbull.
What Mary Turnbull finds startling is that it isn't just the low-income showing up and calling but the college-educated as well. Turnbull says both groups have apparently made all the possible sacrifices before walking in.
With the economy being down, Turnbull and her board of 25 expects to be busier than ever in the next few months. Mary has folders filled with applications, the overwhelming majority of them needing help with the light bill during some dark times.
Now that Alabama Power has settled on an 8.2% rate increase, Turnbull anticipates receiving more applications in the near future. The Public Service Commission is expected to formally vote on the rate increase on October 7th.