LUMBERTON — United Way of Robeson County last year raised $570,826.85, allowing 18 partner agencies to send children to camp, feed the hungry and even save lives.
Representatives from the agencies presented “success stories” from the previous year at the organization’s annual meeting on Thursday.
“The reason I work for United Way and believe so strongly in United Way is because we form partnerships, so when you give to United Way, you aren’t just giving to ‘A’ organization, you’re giving to ‘A through M’ organizations,” said Sandra Oliver, the organization’s executive director.
The chapter’s goal for the campaign had been $715,000, meaning it was just shy of hitting 80 percent of the goal.
“We’ve raised the least amount of money that we’ve raised in a long time,” Oliver said. “… I think fundraising has become very difficult because there’s lots of people out there with a hand out.”
Regardless, Oliver said United Way was able to help many people during 2013.
Communities in Schools of Robeson County was able to put teacher cadets in classrooms with the help of United Way.
Logan Brill, a teacher cadet who works at Tanglewood and Rowland Norment elementary schools, said by supporting the program, United Way is investing in future generations.
“As a young mentor like myself, who will be graduating in June, maybe one day … my kids will say “Ms. Logan, guess what? I’m graduating,” she told the group of about 40 people.
Brill said she’s been working with kindergarten students at Rowland Norment to teach them how to spell and form sentences.
As proof of their efforts, Brill showed the crowd “a late Valentine’s Day gift” from one student.
“Not only did she write her name and write the date, she also wrote a sentence. And the sentence says “I love Ms. Logan.”
With the help of the United Way, the local Red Cross chapter was able to respond after a tornado touched down in St. Pauls last week.
“Luckily there were not too serious issues … but we went to an area where three roofs were flying off,” said Cynthia Bradley, executive director for the Red Cross in Moore County and Scotland County, which works with United Way of Robeson County.
Bradley said with United Way money, the Red Cross was able to pay for a hotel room for a diabetic man who had lost power at his home, which he needed to keep his medicine cool and oxygen machine running.
“When he left,” she said, “that big, strapping man was crying.”
During Robeson County’s most recent snowstorm, the Robeson Church and Community Center provided a similar service to a disabled, homeless veteran living by the Lumber River. The center put the man, whose wheelchair had been broken when he was knocked into the river by a car, in a hotel room, fed him and gave him a winter coat.
“It helps make a difference in if somebody gets to eat or not … it helps make a difference in if someone has a warm, safe place to sleep at night,” said Darlene Jacobs, executive director.
United Way also helped fund the Robeson County 4-H program’s shooting sports club in Fairmont, where two teenage members built an archery range and a shelter for the shooting range solely with donations from the town. The project would have cost the town about $20,000, according to Shea Ann DeJarnette.
At Christmas, 141 foster children received gifts from the Foster Children’s Christmas Fund, which is supported by the United Way. A Boy Scouts troop was started in Maxton and 700 area girls were about to join the Girl Scouts’ Outreach Program free of charge.
“If everybody in Robeson County could hear what was presented today, everyone would want to give to United Way because these are all things that are happening right here in this county and lots of people don’t even know about these things,” Oliver said.
The 18 partner agencies are: American Red Cross; Boys and Girls Club; Boy Scouts Cape Fear Council; Foster Children’s Christmas Fund; Girl Scouts N.C. Coastal Pines; Lumberton Christian Care Center; Mayor’s Committee for the Challenged; Rape Crisis Center; Robeson Church and Community Center; Robeson County Communities in Schools; Robeson County 4-H Program; Robeson County Partnership for Children Born Learning Program; Robeson Family Counseling Center; Southeastern Family Violence Center; Southeastern Industrial Center; Southeastern Hospice; Southeastern N.C. Radio Reading Service; and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Save Our Scholarships Program.