The United Way of Stephens County shared at the monthly community breakfast Thursday morning the details of the fundraising campaign kickoff and announced new leadership after Ed Darling retired.
Betty Beck, chairman of the United Way board of directors said, “I am excited to tell you this is the kickoff week to this year’s United Way campaign and Friday night we are honored to be at the half time of the Duncan football game. L.E. Jones (Operating Inc.) is going to make a large presentation to kick off the campaign.”
Beck also said Saturday was the 2nd annual United Way of Stephens County Barbecue Showdown in Fuqua Park.
The teams of competitors will compete in a single division. Cash prizes and trophies will be awarded to winners in each category.
Judging is scheduled between 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday with cash prizes and trophies awarded at 5 p.m, dinner is served between 5 and 7 p.m.
A People’s Choice Award will be presented to the crowd’s favorite meat dish.
Wristbands to eat are $10 for adults and $5 for kids.
Beck said Kiddieland and the 905 Train would be open for free and encouraged people to also check out Wine’n on the Chisholm Trail going on downtown.
Beck also had other news to share and announced Helen Stewart was going to be stepping up and taking over the executive director spot.
“We’re going to give her an opportunity to see what life is like on the other side of the desk,” Beck said.
Beck then brought out Floyd and Patty Wininger, co-chairs for the 2019-20 fundraising campaign, to express why people should give to the United Way.
Floyd started by giving five statistics about the county:
1. There is over 5,000 homes in Stephens County that receive assistance for food, utilities or shelter
2. There are over 3,000 children in Stephens County who live at the poverty level or below
3. Over 25,000 senior adults in our county utilize the services and programs from area senior centers
4. One in four women in Stephens County have experienced abuse
5. One in five children in Stephens County go to bed hungry
Patty said the stats were daunting but changeable.
“I want add one more statistic with you — On April 5 of this year Floyd and I became a statistic when we lost our son to suicide,” she said. “Part of the reason we are standing here before you representing United Way is because we want you to join us today to stop (these) statistics.”
Then Wininger spoke about the United Way agency’s, Heartline 211 and the National Suicide Prevent life line, and said maybe these tools could help another family.
“I want you to join me today — I want us to stop being statistics and I want us to see our county (thrive) so one more person doesn’t have to be a statistic,” she said. “To go home and be abused or feel like they have to take their own life, because you can help stop that.”