By CATHY MOUNCE, Register Staff Writer
The gauntlet has been thrown to area groups, churches and local business in a friendly competition to be held May 30 to assist the Cooke County United Way (CCUW) as part of the organization’s second “Community Caring” event in 2013.
The first “Day of Caring” for Cooke County took place in April when volunteers teamed up to help Cooke County residents who needed assistance with yard work, cutting tree limbs and hauling off brush and debris.
This second caring event is designed to help local agencies directly supply goods to those in need within Cooke County.
Cooke County United Way Executive Director (CCUW) Angie Hare said this is the fifth year the United Way has been able to support the community in this way.
Hare asked local nonprofit agencies to provide lists of items which would help each agency.
The requested items will be collected by local groups or teams and taken to local drop off points.
In eastern Cooke County, the local drop off point is the First State Bank Conference Center. The Cooke County Electric Cooperative in Muenster is the location for western Cooke County.
Currently on the list of items needed by local agencies are box fans, bottled water, paper towels, toilet paper, juice boxes, Rival 6-speed blenders, 18-ounce jars of peanut butter, adult diapers and Ensure nutrition shakes or drinks.
The following agencies have asked for and will receive the following items: Abigail’s Arms has requested bottled water, paper towels and toilet paper for use at the shelter; Pride (formally known as ‘Substance Abuse Council’) requests bottled water and juice boxes which will be used for teaching events and clients; Volunteers in Service to Others (VISTO) will be getting blenders to be used as an incentive for Pathway clients and peanut butter will be used for additional food given out during the summer months when children are not getting meals at school; box fans and juice boxes to Meals on Wheels; adult diapers and Ensure nutrition drinks for the Area Agency on Aging.
VISTO director Michelle Baldwin said summer represents a time of hunger for some area residents.
“When our area schools let out in a few weeks, the balanced school breakfasts and lunches that so many children rely on will end too and usher in the hungriest season of the year — summer,” Baldwin said. “There is some assistance through summer feed programs, but they will reach only a small portion of the children in need. Parents will be struggling to make up the difference and so the jars of peanut butter will really help.”
Assistance through the Pathways program is designed to help break the cycle of poverty.
“ Our Pathways program is designed to assist families who are at risk for generational poverty and/or abuse by partnering motivated mothers with trained life coaches and teaching them the necessary life-skills to lift themselves out of poverty/abuse,” Baldwin said. “Specifically, the blenders are used during some of our do-it-yourself classes where the focus is on reducing the amount of money families are spending on household consumables by making their own less costly alternatives.”
Abigail’s Arms executive director Kim Cook, said she and her staff are grateful for donations made on behalf of her agency.
“The items we have requested will help defray costs in our budget, especially during this season of fundraising for the shelter,” Cook said. “Our general operations funds pay for bottled water for clients and paper towels/toilet paper for our bathrooms, we don't take these items for granted and are very grateful that United Way can help facilitate getting it for us.”
Volunteerism is not only an integral part of the community but it is a definite cost savings for companies with limited income and personnel. A conservative figure of $19.51 per hour as determined by the United Way foundation is used as the standard measurement in determining the value of a volunteer’s contribution to the overall success of a non profit organization.
“While the value of volunteer time is far greater, this figure provides a standard measurement for the non-profit sector,” Hare said.
Donations may be dropped from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on May 30. Contact the United Way office at 665-1793 for more information.