By JIM LANGHAM • Feature Writer
PAULDING – After successfully topping off the 2014 campaign goal by $8,000, local United Way director Sonya Herber announced at the kickoff breakfast this past week that the campaign goal for this coming year is $75,000.
Herber said that as of June 30 of this year, the 2014 giving had reached $68,000, $8,000 above the original goal of $60,000. With that kind of vision coming from Paulding County residents to support the local agency, Herber said that local officials decided to raise their sites to a new challenge by the $15,000 increase in goal over the last campaign.
“With that kind of funding to work with, the Citizens Review Committee was able to grant $40,000 to agencies in the brochure,” said Herber.
“It’s not easy sorting through the requests,” said Herber. “We can’t grant you everything. Some requests have much greater needs than others.”
United Way of Paulding County current partners include American Red Cross of Paulding County, Paulding County Senior Center, West Ohio Food Bank, Northwest Ohio Community Action Commission, Community Health Professionals, 4-H County/OSU Extension, CPC Women’s Health Resource, The WELL Garden, Northwest Ohio Community Action Commission and Lily Creek Farms, Serving Paulding County.
This year’s campaign co-chairs are Tony and Kay Langham. The theme, “Move Forward Together,” is based on the action of making an impact in Paulding County.
“We are so thankful for the people of Paulding County and how they rise to the challenge,” commented Kay Langham in opening remarks. “Thank you for all you do.”
Tony Langham explained that the national committee continues to emphasize the need to become “proactive” in addition to “reactive” to the needs of the people.
“Becoming proactive,” said Langham, “involves educating and preparing people for disaster in the event of its arrival rather than just reacting to the consequences.”
“United Way is unique. No other organization does what United Way does,” said Langham. “United Way coordinates and supports the most powerful organizations in Paulding County.
“The organizations they support bring millions of dollars in grants and assets to the citizens of the county,” continued Langham. “It’s one of the best kept secrets in the county and it shouldn’t be that way. A lot of us think that things are good and going smooth, but that can change in a hurry through a sudden illness, death in the family, fire, or other sudden acts of devastation.”
Langham asked those present at the breakfast held at the senior center to think of those people that mean the most to them, family, friends and other community members and realize that it is United Way that will be there for them in their time of need.
Several representatives from local agencies gave meaningful examples of how they have personally witnessed the work of United Way in times of need in people around them.
“To see family become close in times of need is priceless,” described Melissa Hale, supervising nurse with Visiting Nurses. “To see how close they become is so moving, even where there might have been estrangement before an illness or crisis.”
Campers of 4-H Camp, Megan Reineck, Tori Bradford and Sydney Reineck described how funds from United Way made it possible for them to attend camp through 4-H.
A total of 62 camp scholarships are made possible through the work of United Way.
Local board members include George Carter, Pam Miller, Bill Shugars, Erika Willitzer, Megan Clark, Harvey Hyman, Megan Meeks, Cheryl Eddy and Jill Cook.