“This year actually for me felt like it was harder to get people to give than it even was at first when the economy had taken a toll because a lot of people have us come in and speak to employees during the open enrollment for insurance,” said Brenda Morehouse, president of the local United Way. “Open enrollment is usually in October and November, during our campaign.
“So we’re going out there asking for money after a lot of people found out that their insurance is going way up. But, because of the way the community is and how great the people are and what the agencies do, we were still able to engage people, get them passionate about what we’re doing and we surpassed our goal.”
Officially ending Nov. 30, the campaign secured $537,988 by primarily generating funds through payroll deductions, which enables employees to donate a minimal amount yearlong, with a portion of their paycheck designated to the United Way.
“At the beginning, I really felt we would hit the goal and the reason is this community is such a giving community,” said United Way Campaign Chairman Fred Kittle. “... This community just always pours out when they see the need and knows where it’s going. We seem to never have any issues in reaching our goals and everybody works together.”
Funds raised through the drive will be dispersed, based on need, to United Way’s 16 agencies: AIDS Alliance of Northwest Georgia, Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter, Bartow County 4-H Club, Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County, Bartow Civil Air Patrol, American Red Cross, Christian League for Battered Women, New Beginnings Food Outreach, The Salvation Army, Good Shepherd Foundation, Bartow Area Habitat for Humanity, Hickory Log Vocational School, North Bartow Community Services, Bartow Health Access, Girl Scouts Division of Bartow County and Advocates for Children. Combined, the nonprofits serve more than 60,000 people each year.
“United Way works to raise money and then distribute it back into the community through other nonprofits and their programs. We’ve got 16 nonprofit agencies,” Morehouse said. “They range from ... Boys & Girls Club, having a place for your kids to go without having to pay that extreme price of weekly day care, to funding programs that help our local people that have become homeless due to job loss that want to help themselves and get back on their feet to programs through our 4-H department.”
For more information about the United Way, call 770-386-1677 or visit www.bartowliveunited.org.