There, when you need them
United Way of Laurens County message: “Give A Little. Help A Lot.”
People who are willing to be there when you need them.
The United Way of Laurens County honored two such individuals Thursday as it kicked off the 2018 campaign with the theme “Give A Little. Help A Lot.”
Melvin Bailey received the C. Bailey Dixon Volunteerism and Philanthropy Award. In addition to assisting with the United Way campaign, Bailey directs the United Ministries activities and food pantry in Clinton, and supervises a snack-pack program.
This program fills a backpack with nutritious, portable food that school children can have during the weekend, when they are away from school breakfast and lunch.
Former agency executive director Whitney Robertson received an Above and Beyond the Call of Duty award for her continuing willingness to work with United Way programs. Robertson is marketing director for the Laurens County Development Corporation.
Immediate past board chair Rev. Jeri Perkins introduced Robertson. UWLC Interim Executive Director Alesia Carter introduced Bailey as the volunteerism award winner. Presentations were made by Allison Seibert, resource development manager.
Guest speaker, Rev. Blake Harwell, asked the United Way-supporting audience to be aware that even during times of a rising economy, some people get left behind.
“I know sometimes you wonder is the good you are trying to do really making a difference,” Harwell said. “Your gifts to United Way of Laurens County are very helpful. I am proud to be in a community that supports United Way.”
Just a few programs funded by the United Way include 96 meals every day for the elderly, sheltering abused adults and children, assembling snack packs for child nutrition, working with at-risk youth, and teaching professional skills to adults, he said.
“Great work is being done,” Harwell said, “because you give.”
People running the 31 United Way of Laurens County-funded programs are “closer to the action, and they serve very effectively.”
Too many times, Harwell said, “We see problems, we don’t see people. We need to love first, and ask questions later.” Carter said she had been in the interim director role for three weeks now, but is no a stranger to United Way, serving two years as an AmeriCorps participant. “Every contribution toward a goal is valuable,” she said.
Carter said UWLC is opening a satellite office in Gray Court, at the town hall, for those with no transportation to Laurens and Clinton. She also recognized the Campaigns of Excellence:
-- Sterilite, #1 campaign;
-- Shaw Industries, #2 campaign;
-- Asten Johnson, #3 campaign;
-- Laurens Electric Cooperative, largest money increase;
-- Baldwin Buick, largest percentage increase;
-- Laurens YMCA, largest employee participation;
-- Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission, second largest employee participation;
-- Laurens County Memorial Home, largest agency campaign of the year;
-- Hospice of Laurens County, largest percentage amount increase.
The 2018 VITA (tax preparation) Volunteer of the Year is Summer Cooper. The UWLC interns are:
-- Hayley Bryan, AmeriCorps member of Laurens County;
-- Sarah Bleile, Camp Hilton Head;
-- Autumn Hurley, front desk associate at AC Hotel, Spartanburg;
-- Carey Pitts, AmeriCorps member of Laurens County.
The 2018-19 Board of Directors is Jamie Adair, Rosanne Braswell, Selena Anderson, Summer Cooper, Justin Benfield, Lynn Downie, Ashley Buhrmaster, Sharon O’Bryant, Phyllis Staton, Pete Evans, Dina Hair, David Hammond, Jeri Perkins, Renee Madden, Dale Satterfield, Amanda Munyan, and Bryon Smith.
Top level sponsors of the kickoff luncheon are Greenville Health System Laurens County Memorial Hospital, the City of Clinton, PRTC, Shaw Industries, Presbyterian College (host site), Clinton-Newberry Natural Gas Authority and Laurens Electric Cooperative Inc.
UWLC has been assisting human services agencies for 66 years.
This Month’s UWLC Activity:
United Way of Laurens County held its annual School Supplies Drive Event at the Laurens Walmart. During July, UWLC collected needed school supplies at a number of organizations and businesses around Laurens County. On July 30 – Aug. 2, UWLC employees collected the donated items at each collection site. The School Supplies Drive Event was Friday, Aug. 3, noon - 5 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 4, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. UWLC employees, District 55 and 56 representatives, and volunteers were stationed at the doors of Walmart Laurens passing out information and collecting items that shoppers donate. For each bag donated, the donors received a coupon from Sonic for free and/or half off priced menu items.