More than 10 percent of Dickson County’s population received some kind of assistance from the Dickson County Help Center in 2012. According to year-end data released by Executive Director Renee Boehm, the help center provided assistance to a total of 2,332 households during the year, reaching 5,300 individuals with at least one contact. While Dickson County started the year with unemployment at almost 10 percent, it saw a steady decline over 2012 to 6.3 percent reported for November. Yet 14 percent of the county’s population lives below poverty level guidelines and the county distributes $1.3 million in food stamps each month. The help center saw a total of 8,600 contacts for assistance in 2012. The majority of the households helped received assistance through the food bank, with 4,300 households assisted at least one time. Utilities assistance was over $70,000, help with rent or mortgage payments was almost $9,500, medical and medications assistance topped $11,000, over $10,000 went to emergency home repairs for the elderly, 90 families received help with heaters, fans and air conditioners, 323 families received clothing for 650 individuals and over $3,800 was spent on homeless financial assistance in the way of motel rooms, bus tickets or gas money. Of the 2,332 households helped in some way, over 1,500 had Dickson addresses, followed by 204 in Charlotte, 162 in White Bluff, 88 in Burns, 84 in Cumberland Furnace, 37 in Vanleer and 5 in Slayden, while 73 families receiving assistance were reported as homeless. With temperatures hitting their coldest points of the winter, the help center is seeking donations of heaters to assist families. Residents also can contribute through their utility bills to the assistance program. The Dickson County Help Center’s 5th annual fund-raising banquet will be March 16 and table reservations are now being taken. For more information, contact the help center at 441-0076. The thrift store is open 9 am-4 pm and the assistance office is open 9 am-3 pm.