Local United Way struggles as community needs increase

Photo By Rick Harris
The Elizabethton Senior Citizens Center is one of the seven agencies served by United Way of Elizabethton-Carter County. Several seniors eat their lunch daily at the center, as well as participate in activities. "It's a good social outlet for the community’s seniors," said Kathy Dula, assistant director. Seniors are pictured above during a singing session.

By Rozella Hardin
star staff

  The United Way of Elizabethton and Carter County kicked off its 2005 campaign in early September, and now the community is being asked to step up to the plate and knock a home run in an effort to help the agency meet its $183,000 goal.
  For the past two years, the agency has failed to meet its goal, in part, due to the poor economy and many of its larger supporters closing its doors. However, the need is just as great for the seven agencies, which benefit from the United Way.
  The board in a meeting Monday urged campaign chairmen to make contacts within their ranks to bring as many people on board as possible. Harold Mains is serving as 2005 campaign chairman. Divisional chairpersons include: Duncan Street and Loretta Pierce, commercial; Monica Feathers and Ginger Lyons, industrial; Peggy Campbell, public service; Sharon Sheppard, professional; and Brenda Wallace and Tina Garrison, residential.
  Loretta Pierce, treasurer, reported that only $3,756.85 had been received thusfar in monies, however, a total of $13,976 had been pledged for 27 percent of the goal.
  Brenda Wallace, executive director, said there is a need to make the community more aware of the needs of the agencies served by United Way and urged the board to come up with meaningful ways to do that.
  Agencies served by the United Way include the Community Day Care and Learning Center; UETHDA Elizabethton Neighborhood Service Center; Senior Citizens; Red Cross; ARM - Assistance and Resource Ministries; Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton and Carter County; and Boy Scouts - Sequoyah Council.
  The seven agencies serve hundreds of Carter Countians, both young and old, providing hot meals, transportation, health screenings, summer programs for the young, shoes for the needy, school supplies for children, early childhood education, assistance to military families, visits to veterans, and assistance after local disasters, etc.
  The American Red Cross in a report to the United Way noted that since July, the local chapter had served 25 disaster clients, opened two shelters, housing nine families and providing 31 meals, three clean-up kits as well as disaster assistance to one family during the September flooding.
  "All of this assistance comes with a price tag," said Wallace, "and United Way monies help fund these services."
  This year's campaign is dedicated to the memory of Charles Robinson, former STAR publisher and a member of the United Way board of directors, who died this past summer from an apparent heart attack.
  Persons who would like to donate to the United Way are urged to send their check to the United Way of Elizabethton and Carter County, P.O. Box 1715, Elizabethton, TN 37643.