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United Way needs more donations to reach 2020 goal

RINCON — United Way of the Coastal Empire-Effingham County has a long way to go and a short time to get there.

Hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization has gathered just 65 percent of its 2020 fund-raising goal of $320,000. It is set to wrap up its campaign with a “victory” event Nov. 19.

Under normal circumstances, United Way relies on “ambassadors” to spearhead its annual campaign. They visit businesses to seek support for United Way by educating workers about what it does.

Unfortunately, social distancing restrictions have limited the ambassadors’ 2020 opportunities.

“It has been what many would consider to be an unprecedented year, but your United Way was built for moments like this,” said Brian Van Ness, chairman of Effingham County’s 2020 fund-raising campaign.

United Way uses the money it collects to support 54 non-profit agencies that are on the front line battling complex social problems at the local level, including poverty, hunger, abuse and health concerns.

Some of United Way’s biggest supporters are stepping up their efforts to fill the donation gap through internal fundraisers. These include the Effingham County Board of Commissioners, Effingham Health System, Georgia-Pacific and Georgia Power.

The commission is generating money for through Jeans Day (workers pay for the privilege of wearing blue jeans) and pie-in-the-face events. Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie and County Manager Tim Callanan have agreed to be “pied” for a United Way donation.

Other key United Way contributors are simply increasing their giving. A local attorney tripled his donation.

Van Ness encouraged Effingham County residents to support United Way and challenge others to do likewise. He said they can learn more about it at

The campaign chair recommended sharing United Way’s story with friends, family members and coworkers.

You can donate to United Way through its website at or text IMPROVE to 40403.

“We have all come across an opportunity to be there for someone else during their time of need,” Van Ness said. “Now is your time to put hope in action. Give today.”

United Way of the Coastal Empire-Effingham County can be reached at (912) 826-5897 or