“During tough economic times, some people find it hard to give; others say during hard economic times, it’s hard not to give,” said Matthew Pope, this year’s United Way Campaign chairman for St. Clair County.
Pope said he hopes more people feel like the latter and more than $200,000 is raised for United Way agencies in St. Clair County and those agencies outside that serve county people.
“Our goal this year is $204,000,” said Pope, who is employed by Metro Bank.
Pope made his pitch at the Pell City Rotary Club luncheon Tuesday.
He said only five St. Clair County agencies supported by Untied Way — the Arc of St. Clair County, Pell City Needy School Children’s Fund, St. Clair County Children’s Advocacy Center, St. Clair County Day Program and The Christian Love Pantry — receive $228,000 from United Way.
“We get back more than we give,” Pope said. “Guys, it only makes sense (to give to United Way).”
Terry Davis, United Way director for St. Clair County, said efforts raised about $200,000 last year, and United Way officials are hoping to raise about 4 percent more than last year’s campaign.
He said 65 percent of the donations come through payroll deductions and the rest of the 25 percent is from private donations in St. Clair County.
Davis said United Way volunteer loan executives will start visiting local businesses, employee groups and individuals to help make this year’s St. Clair County United Way goal.
Davis said in all about $600,000 of United Way funds are invested in St. Clair County non-profit groups and organizations that hold out a hand to those in need.
He said United Way Partner Agencies served a reported 23,661 residents in St. Clair County, and 15 United Way funded agencies operate within the county in 2008.
Davis said United Way supported 27 other agencies that served St. Clair County residents outside the county’s borders in 2008.
At Tuesday’s luncheon, representatives from four St. Clair County United Way agencies spoke to Rotary Club members, telling how important their United Way donations are to their respective agencies.
“In 2009, there were 642 children involved in reports of sexual or physical abuse,” said Janet Jones with the St. Clair County Children’s Advocacy Center. “One hundred sixty-five children were interviewed.”
Of those children interviewed, Jones said, 64 received therapy through the St. Clair County Children’s Advocacy Center, one of the many programs offered by the advocacy center.
Jones said the advocacy center programs would not be possible without United Way support.
Her message was echoed by representatives from various United Way agencies scattered throughout St. Clair County.
“The St. Clair County Day Program could not exist without the support of United Way and other of our supporters,” said David Gray, director of the St. Clair County Day Program.
The day program receives more than $100,000 in United Way funds.
The Arc of St. Clair County also receives close to $100,000, while the all-volunteer run agency, The Christian Love Pantry, receives about $32,000 each year in United Way dollars.
Davis said this year’s United Way campaign theme is “Shine a Light.”
He said his agency wants to shine a light on those who support and volunteer their time to build a better community through the United Way.
Contact David Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org.