Wallace: Local United Way campaign may be impacted by terrorist attacks

By Greg Miller

   Brenda Wallace, executive director of the United Way of Elizabethton/Carter County, believes the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America will negatively impact the local organization's fund-raising campaign.
   "I'm sure it will," Wallace said. "It has had an effect on other United Way campaigns that kicked off before we did."
   In light of the attacks, Wallace says it's more important than ever for local residents to support the United Way. Even though residents have generously given to victims of the terrorist attacks, local needs still must be met, she said.
   "We have to take care of our own community so they are better prepared for something like that. We need to be better prepared and by giving to United Way, you can take care of basic needs. We have needs here, too. We still have hungry people, children without shoes, and people with other needs."
   In the past, according to Wallace, Carter County residents and businesses "have always been willing to support the community and the people. They are pretty good in giving. Some still don't understand what the United Way does in its own community."
   Carter County giving to United Way "is average to other communities. It could be better and with more education, it could be much better. We have caring people and people who want to help the community, but they don't always do it through United Way."
   Wallace notes that some people think a lot of the money goes to pay salaries, but she and co-worker Tina Garrison only work part-time, "because we can't afford to pay full-time employees."
   The goal of the current campaign of United Way of Elizabethton/Carter County is $205,000, according to Wallace, who has held her current position for 16 years.
   About 10 percent of the goal has been reached, according to Wallace. "A lot of the businesses haven't started their campaigns yet," she said. "It's hard to tell until you get the big companies in, and some of them don't come in until November."
   The campaign is scheduled to conclude at the end of November. The final report will be released after the first of the year.
   Organizations and agencies that receive funding from the United Way help people in a variety of age groups, from children to senior citizens. "We're totally dependent on the community to fund the agencies and their services," Wallace said.
   Wallace estimates that about 50 percent of local residents give through payroll deduction. "We would have a larger number if we had more industry," she said.
   Organizations receiving funding from the United Way include specialized and community service, youth development and health and rehabilitation. Assistance and Resource Ministries, Inc. (ARM), Carter County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Community Day Care and Learning Center, Emergency Child Shelter, Inc., Elizabethton Senior Citizens Center, Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency's Elizabethton Neighborhood Service Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Elizabethton/Carter County, Boy Scouts-Sequoyah Council, and Frontier Health Charlotte Taylor Center are among the local agencies and organizations receiving funds from United Way.
   Wallace encourages local residents to give to the current campaign. "Whether a little bit at a time, or all in one lump sum, it all goes for the same services," she said.
   Gifts to the United Way can be used as a memorial gift or as a tribute or special occasion gift.
   In addition to payroll deductions, donations may be made via checks and money orders. The local United Way office is located at 527 E. Elk Ave., Suite #4, Ritz Mini-Mall. Pledges may be mailed to United Way of Elizabethton/Carter County, P.O. Box 1715, Elizabethton, TN 37644-1715. For more information, call 543-6975.