United Way of Perry County launches funding campaign

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By Rebecca Fenn

"We invite you to Live United, to reach out to your neighbors in need through the United Way, to give, advocate, and volunteer to help your community grow stronger," said Debbie Elder, United Way of Perry County's campaign chairwoman recently as she spoke to a group of employees in our community, asking them to contribute to the United Way of Perry County's annual fundraising drive.

"The United Way is helping thousands of people in the county through its funding of local health and human-service organizations and through its direct programs. Whether it is food or utility assistance for a struggling family, books for children or support for the elderly, these organizations are making our community a better place to live for all of us.

United Way forms partnerships to strengthen our local community. When needs arise, the United Way seeks out ways to help the community in solving problems. During this year of extra need, the United Way provided $7,500 in additional resources for one of our partners to provide emergency assistance to struggling families."

Every year the United Way of Perry County provides $65,000 to $80,000 in funding to about 20 local health and human-service providers. Those organizations touch the lives of thousands in our community through their services.

In addition to the funds that are invested back into the community's health and human-service organizations, the United Way of Perry County coordinates six programs and is co-sponsoring an additional program with the community foundation this year. Community partners receiving United Way funding in 2010 are Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Perry County 4-H, Perry Central Family Outreach, Perry County Event Start, Anderson Woods, Companion Care and Home Health programs at Perry County Memorial Hospital, Perry County Council on Aging, Visiting Nurse Association, Agape Fellowship Ministries, American Red Cross, Catholic Charities emergency shelter and utility programs, Crisis Connection, Martin's Cloak Food Pantry, Salvation Army and Widow's Barrel Food Pantry.

The United Way of Perry County provides the following programs for the county: Holiday Helpers United, Stuff the Bus, Days of Caring, Perry County Food Coalition, the FamilyWize Prescription Discount Card and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library.

They are also collaborating with the Perry County Community Foundation to sponsor the Perry County Power of Youth philanthropic program for high school teens.

Since starting its Pacesetter campaign in August, the United Way of Perry County has raised more than $20,000 from these local employee groups: Cannelton, Tell City, and Perry Central schools, Visiting Nurse Association, Fifth Third Bank, Old National Bank, First State Bank, and Southern Indiana Power.

Unfortunately, it will take much more than that to help those in need this year and next. But Perry County is blessed with great people who are willing to share what they have to help those less fortunate. This has been proven time and time again.

United Way's grassroots message to "live united" has touched a chord with so many people in Perry County.

To "live united" calls us as citizens to give back to our community, to advocate for what you are passionate about, and to volunteer in your own community because when we reach out a hand to one, we are influencing the condition of all.

"Live United" has inspired our citizens to remember how blessed we are and has inspired them to give in whatever capacity they can. Now you have the opportunity to reach out a hand to help others, to live united, as we combine our gifts together to help our friends and neighbors.

For Perry County residents who are not part of an employee giving campaign, donations may be made directly to the United Way of Perry County at P.O. Box 73, Tell City, IN 47586.

The mission of the United Way of Perry County is to provide leadership and resources to community organizations that are working to fulfill the health and human-service needs of Perry County. For more information about the United Way of Perry County, contact me at 547-2577 or via e-mail at unitedwayperry @psci.net.

To learn more about our programs, our volunteers, our leadership, our history, etc. go to www.unitedwayperryco.org. We invite you to make a difference in this community by giving, advocating and volunteering. Together we can make sure the blessings of Perry County are available to all.

Fenn is executive director of United Way of Perry County.