After eight weeks of fundraising for 42 nonprofits that provide a variety of vital services, the United Way of Horry County annual campaign has reached 55 percent of its $1,275,000 goal.
“As of Nov. 9, we are at 55 percent,” of the goal, with $700,259.61 contributed or pledged, reported marketing and communications coordinator Jill R. Watts. Last fall at this point, the campaign had reached 65 percent. “We’re trailing last year,” but Watts and others are anything but discouraged. “Truthfully, we’re delighted – the response has been good. The campaign has been very positive.”
A veteran United Way volunteer for 25 years during her career with Santee Cooper, Watts knows “each year is different.” Over 700 volunteers are involved in the campaign. Whatever differences in the annual fundraising, one constant remains. “The needs aren’t just during the campaign.” Indeed, throughout any year the 42 community partners provide vital services to over 150,000 folks in four impact areas: Successful Youth and Children (Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA, Help 4 Kids); Strong Safe & Healthy Families (The Center for Counseling & Wellness, A Father’s Place, Friendship Medical Clinic); Promoting Self Sufficiency (GRACE Ministries, Horry County Council on Aging, Literacy Council); Basic Needs Safety Net (American Red Cross Coastal SC Chapter, three Helping Hand organizations, Churches Assisting People or CAP, North Strand Housing Shelter, The Salvation Army). All of the agencies noted are representative of those in each of the four categories.
Of her United Way volunteering at Santee Cooper, Watts recalls, “It was a way of life, really.” The state-owned utility is in the industry segment of the campaign. “The industry campaign is about 99 percent complete. They are right on track.” Geographic segments such as Myrtle Beach, North Strand, South Strand and Inland (Aynor, Conway, Loris) include small business and residential campaigns. Other segments cover public service – schools and colleges, hospitals, municipal and county government – and the agencies supported by the United Way.
How much can we give? A good guideline for giving is an hour of pay per month – a worker earning $12 an hour would contribute $144, typically through payroll deductions. That’s less than $3 a week – $2.76 to be exact – but almost enough to provide support to 13 students who have a learning difficulty such as dyslexia. A giver able to donate $5 a week provides, on average, three doctor visits, blood work, tests, some procedures and medications for one patient for an entire year.
Your United Way contributions stay here in Horry County, helping neighbors in many ways. The United Way has worked well here for nearly 40 years and tens of thousands of neighbors need success in the 2012-13 fundraising drive. If you haven’t yet donated, please consider how much you might be able to give.