The Duncan Banner

October 6, 2013

Volunteers help raise funds for United Way

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — The more successful the United Way of Stephens County’s campaign is, the more money the 16 partner agencies will receive for the upcoming year.

This was one of the primary reasons 14 volunteers showed up at a volunteer lunch Thursday. The lunch provided the volunteers with names of previous donors and their phone numbers to help raise more funds for the 2013-14 campaign, which had its official kickoff in August.

Among them were Boy Scout troop leader Scott Farris and Christians Concerned Executive Director Kassie Gilmore, both of whom were excited to help with the campaign.

“Obviously, as a United Way agency, we want United Way to be as successful as possible,” Gilmore said.

This year’s campaign goal is $350,000, which is up from the 2012-13 goal of $325,000. Last year’s campaign met goal earlier this year.

Farris, who has been involved in the Boy Scouts for the past four years, said he though it was important to get involved in this year’s United Way campaign because it provided him another way to help people in his community.

“It’s nice to be able to help with something that’s really well organized and helps a diverse group of people,” Farris said. “They organized things to where someone can step in and help.”

Lauren Ellis, United Way of Stephens County executive director, and Haylee Root, campaign chairwoman, led the volunteer training lunch. In the training, Ellis explained what each of the volunteers would be doing. Essentially, they will be calling organizations and businesses who have donated to the United Way previously.

The United Way sent out letters and pledge cards to each of these previous donors. Ellis said many of the people on the list would be expected phone calls from the volunteers.

“You’re just asking if they got their pledge card and see if we can count on their support again this year,” Root said to the volunteers.

Ellis said one of the biggest obstacles in contacted people is outdated numbers. Many people no longer have home phones, and many of the numbers on file with the United Way are home numbers.

Gilmore said she’s excited to see how the United Way campaign turns out, especially with how successful it has been up to this point.

But the needs at Christians Concerned aren’t only monetary. Gilmore said there is a need for non-perishable food items at the agency.

“Food is flying off the shelves,” Gilmore said. “There’s been a pretty dramatic increase.”

As of Sept. 30, 2,948 people used Christians Concerned for food, utility bills, rent and prescriptions this year. From Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, Christians Concerned helped 908 households with food needs. This included 1,173 families containing 1,769 adults and 957 children. Some of these people returned to Christians Concerned, totaling 2,726 people helped overall.

For the same period, Christians Concerned helped 773 house holds in 2011, and 717 in 2012.

“We need food, especially canned meats, spaghetti noodles, spaghetti sauce, canned fruits and soup,” Gilmore said.