Have you ever wondered what United Way does? Most people have seen the United Way logo on TV ads through our partnership with the NFL, or heard about our fundraising events through radio public service announcements. You know the logo, and you know it’s associated with “good” things. But what good things? What does United Way really do in the communities of the Coastal Empire (Bryan, Chatham, Liberty, and specifically Effingham County)?
Our primary role is to raise funds for programs that fulfill our mission: to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of the community. In the fall of each year, we hold our annual campaign where local employers can offer payroll deduction for their employees to donate through United Way at a comfortable pace for their budget. This is also a time when individuals give their annual contribution. At the completion of the campaign, volunteer panels evaluate annual program funding applications through a stringent two-month vetting process, and then allocate donor dollars to programs who meet the required criteria. This process allows all funding decisions to be made at the community level. United Way’s thorough evaluation process also allows some programs to receive additional funding from other grantors because they have been approved by United Way.
In addition to fundraising, we offer volunteer opportunities. Community leaders serve on our Advisory Board, Allocations Panel and Investment Panel. Volunteers advocate for families who are struggling with basic needs (food, shelter and clothing) and who are facing barriers to financial independence (lack of education or transportation, and health issues). Volunteers also serve at our Mobile Food Pantry Drops at the Effingham County Recreation Department Gym, where 300-plus families are given supplemental food twice each year. And volunteers support local programs by serving with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center, Family Promise of Effingham, Ready2CONNECT and many others.
Years ago, our Effingham Community made a wonderful decision to provide a convenient place (the United Way Effingham Service Center, located in Rincon) for our County’s residents to receive help during times of hardship. This Center is a hub of many resources that help our residents daily. Services include prescription drug assistance, legal advice, speech and hearing assistance, GED assistance, free tax filing, job skills assistance, credit and budget counseling, grief counseling and much more. As our community’s needs grow and change, we will continue to provide additional services.
We invite you to visit our United Way Effingham Service Center located at 711 Zitterour Rd., Rincon. Our hours are Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. until 12 noon and 1-4 p.m. We would love to give you a tour of the center, and introduce you to the program leaders who are making a difference in so many lives throughout our county. To learn more, like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/UWEffingham. We update this page daily with events, volunteer opportunities, job opportunities and community resources.
On behalf of the clients we serve and the programs we help fund, thank you for choosing to BE THE ONE to care for and support our Effingham community through United Way.
Julie Dickey is the area director of the United Way of the Coastal Empire–Effingham. Reach the United Way Service Center at 711 Zitterour Rd., Rincon GA, 31326 or call 826-5300 ext. 102.