United Way: ‘Doing good feels good’
by Jack Mcneely
Sep 08, 2012 | 874 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jack Mcneely
Jack Mcneely
When it comes time to give something back to the community in which you live, I believe contributing to United Way is your best option.

Having served twice as a United Way fundraising chairperson for the Lake Cumberland Area United Way in south-central Kentucky, I realize how much work goes into the annual giving campaign.

That is why I was thrilled to sign up here as a member of the Volunteer Allocation Team with the United Way of Central Alabama. And, I was excited to see that Kevin Callahan, manager of Honda and Hyundai dealerships in Jasper, is the fundraising chair for the current 2013 campaign here in Walker County.

Callahan announced Thursday during the United Way Kick-Off Luncheon that Walker County’s campaign goal is $1,040,000. That’s up a bit from last year, he noted.

Walker County is considered a “Receiver” county in United Way terms. That means that we receive more funds than we contribute. A successful 2012 campaign earmarked nearly $1.17 million for 11 agencies operating within Walker County. They include:

• American Red Cross

• Arc of Walker County

• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham

• Boy Scouts of America – Black Warrior Council

• Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Alabama, Concerned Citizens for Our Youth/Beacon House

• Family Resource Center of Northwest Alabama/Daybreak

• Independent Living Resources of Greater Birmingham

• Positive Maturity

• Salvation Army of Walker County

• Walker County Needy School Children’s Fund.

In 2010, United Way partner agencies served a reported 17,508 Walker County residents. And, United Way supported 31 other agencies that served Walker County residents outside the county’s borders in 2010.

There are several United Way initiatives that also serve Walker County.

Success by 6:

• Coordinates a quality school readiness initiative operating in Walker County at T.R. Simmons Elementary Pre-K, Arc of Walker County Pre-K, West Jasper Elementary and six Walker County head start classrooms and childcare centers.

• Partners with the Walker County Children’s Policy Council to provide parenting and early childhood services information to families and community partners.

• Organizing community effort to establish countywide plan for school readiness.

• Coordinates Help Me Grow Central Alabama to increase number of children receiving standardized developmental screening and connections to resources.

• Partners with Leadership Walker County to distribute quality school readiness materials to all four-year-olds.

Financial Stability Partnership:

• Brings free tax preparation to Walker County and filed taxes for hard working Walker County residents.

Senior Initiatives:

• Senior Support Fund receives donations and disburses funds through Middle Alabama Area Agency on Aging to meet basic needs for seniors.

Disaster Preparedness:

• Participates with the Emergency Management Agency (EMA) community stakeholders to form Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) to respond in times of need.

• Works closely with the Walker County Long-Term Recovery Committee to respond to the needs of families impacted by damaging tornados.

It is easy to see why contributing to the United Way makes sense; it stretches your donations across a kaleidoscope of local services. I urge you to give this year to the United Way of Central Alabama.

I like the United Way slogan, “Doing Good Feels Good.” Try it out.

Jack McNeely is Publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle and can be contacted by phone at 205-221-2840 or via email at jack.mcneely@mountaineagle.com.