Editorial | Horry United Way drive nearing finish line, closing in on goal

03/18/2014 3:42 PM

03/19/2014 6:31 AM

The United Way of Horry County annual fundraising campaign has raised 91 percent of the $1,275,000 needed for 40 community partners and United Way President Olivia Garren says “we’re working real hard to cross the finish line.’’

The 2013-14 campaign has raised $1,154,869 which is “just a little behind’’ the mid-March total a year ago. Garren, who is retiring after 39 years with the United Way, says “we still have some large national accounts that we’re simply waiting for the numbers.’’ In some cases, these are large drives that “could be a significant amount of money.’’

In some situations, a corporate gift matches the pledges of employees or the corporation gives a percentage of employee pledges, typically contributed through payroll deductions.

This campaign placed additional emphasis on residential areas, with a broader mailing base and improved follow-up in an effort to reach retired folks who have been United Way supporters but are no longer contacted in employee drives. The Myrtle Beach residential drive, lead by veteran United Way volunteer Gail Ferguson, raised 101 percent of its $32,500 goal. The Myrtle Beach residential drive has the largest single residential goal, Garren says. Ferguson is mostly retired from the Social Security Administration.

Aynor, in the Inland Division, finished at an impressive 127 percent of goal. Glenda Page “has done this for several years,’’ Garren says. “This is a significant increase for that area.’’ Page, with the help of her husband Bobby, raised $2,544, topping the $2,000 goal. Page is the chief human resources executive for Horry Telephone Cooperative.

Also at 101 percent is Surfside business in the South Strand Division. Surfside business is lead by Woody Ford. Campgrounds Division, lead by volunteer Annette Shepherd, is at 98 percent of the goal.

The Industry Division, headed by Gregg Turbeville, is at 96 percent of the goal.

In the Public Services Division, the hospitals area is at 95 percent of the goal. Sue Strange is the lead volunteer for hospitals.

“We will certainly do everything in our power’’ to reach the goal, Garren says. The annual Celebration Luncheon for volunteers is scheduled March 25 at Ocean Lakes Family Campground, where the event has been held in recent years.

Much is at stake because the United Way helps finance 40 nonprofits that provide a variety of vital services for children, families and seniors. The partners include Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, the Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA and Help 4 Kids.

Other familiar names include the American Red Cross Coastal S.C. Chapter, the Salvation Army, three Helping Hand organizations and Churches Assisting People (CAP) in Conway. The expanding North Strand Housing Shelter is one of the newer community partners.

Every contribution is important, as Garren frequently says. That’s why it’s called United Way. We urge participation by all -- residents, small businesses, professional groups. This is Garren’s last hurrah for the United Way and a campaign going over the goal would be a fitting retirement sendoff.

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