The United Way of Lincoln County held its annual meeting earlier this month and despite battling a respiratory problem, Executive Director Kathy Vinzant was smiling. The 2017-2018 campaign had not only reached--but exceeded--its fundraising goal.
Vinzant and others speaking at the meeting made it clear, however, that the United Way is about much more than raising money for local charities.
True, the United Way is the offspring of the Lincoln County United Fund, begun by area business leaders in the 1950s because they wanted to help charitable causes, but found themselves being asked almost every week to contribute to another, and they recognized the need to find a way to spread their contributions around so they would do the most good.
The number of agencies affiliated with the United Way of Lincoln County has varied from year to year. While some may get part of their support from their own fundraising efforts and from other sources including grants, they all depend on the United Way campaign for a part of their operating funds.
The current list includes:
A Place To Grow
P: 704-732-1745 W: www.comserve.org
410 North Poplar Street, Lincolnton, NC 28092
An inclusive center-based program for children from 1 to 5 years of age with developmental disabilities.
American Red Cross - Lincoln County Chapter
P: 704-735-3500 W: www.redcross.org
527 North Aspen Street, Lincolnton, NC 28092
Served over 185 people last year with crisis care and disaster preparedness.
Communities in Schools of Lincoln County
P: 704-736-0303 W: www.cislincolnnc.org
PO Box 1315, Lincolnton, NC 28093
Dropout prevention programs. $50 will fill a backpack with school supplies to send a student to school prepared to learn. $1,500 will pay for food for an after-school site for a month.
Helping Hands Health Clinic
P: 704-736-0140 or 704-735-7145
Gamble Drive, Lincolnton, NC 28092
The only low-cost medical clinic in Lincoln Co., Helping Hands offers a low-cost prescription program and support for patients in need of medications.
Hesed House of Hope, Inc.
P: 704-732-0175 E: HowtohelpHHH@hotmail.com
PO Box 1633, Lincolnton, NC 28093
located on Ann Gaither Court just off Lincoln Street in the Oaklawn community
The Hesed House of Hope is Lincoln County’s emergency shelter for the homeless. This year, they extended their operation to year-round.
Hospice and Palliative Care of Lincoln County
P: 704-732-6146 W: www.hpccr.org/lincoln-county.cfm
107 North Cedar Street, Lincolnton, NC 28092
End of life care, grief counseling and support. They provided 366 charity care days, served 607 Hospice patients and 243 Palliative Care patients last year.
Lincoln County Coalition Against Child Abuse (LCCACA)
P: 704-736-1155 W: www.cac-lincolncounty.org
PO Box 652, Lincolnton, NC 28093
Child abuse prevention/education/advocacy.
Lincoln County Coalition Against Domestic Violence
P: 704-736-1224 W: www.lincolncounty-cadv.org/
PO Box 476, Lincolnton, NC 28093
Domestic Violence Shelter
Lincoln County Family YMCA
P: 704-748-9311 W: www.ymcacharlotte.org/branches/lincoln
1402 East Gaston Street, Lincolnton, NC 28092
Summer day camp scholarships. $1450 provides the opportunity for children in grades 1-3 to participate in a six-week literacy program.
Lincoln County Senior Services
P: 704-732-9053 W: www.lincolncounty.org
514 S. Academy St., Lincolnton, NC 28092
Enhances the quality of life for all older adults and promotes participation in all aspects of the community.
Piedmont Council, Boy Scouts of America
P: 704-864-2694 W: www.piedmontcouncilbsa.org
1222 East Franklin Boulevard, Gastonia, NC 28053
Helping to strengthen families and individuals by supporting Boy Scouts (Grades 6-12) in Lincoln County and providing resources to 15 local troops.
P: 704-716-7300 W: www.ymcacharlotte.org/branches/sallys
1604 Forney Creek Drive, Denver, NC 28037
Summer day camp scholarships. $55 provides the life saving skill of swim lessons for one child. $160 provides one week of summer camp for a child that would be home alone for the summer.
Salem Industries (Division of Gaston Skills, Inc.)
P: 704-732-1516 W: www.gastonskills.org
1636 Salem Church Road, Lincolnton, NC 28092
Vocational training for adults with developmental disabilities.
Special Olympics of Lincoln County
P: 704-736-1860 W: www.sonc.net/lincoln/
6471 Highway 73, Denver, NC 28093
Sports training for individuals with intellectual disabilities. $2000 can send 10 athletes to the Summer Games with meals, room and board and all activities for a weekend.
The United Way of Lincoln County, under Vinzant's direction, has evolved into much more than a source of funding for these worthwhile agencies. The United Way also supports other community projects--like the Asbury Resource Center on Salem Church Road next to Asbury Academy. The center is a location where, thanks to contributions from the community and the hard work of volunteers, educators can get help for children in their classes they realize need clothing, school supplies, etc.
Another United Way supported effort is NC211.org.
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Some of the contributions that are received by the United Way are earmarked for certain agencies, contributed to help one or more of the community partners in their efforts.
The Timken Company donated a van to the Kids At Work culinary program. The van will be used to provide transportation for students participating in the 16-week program that meets on Wednesdays at Asbury United Methodist Church.
"We were introduced to the Kids At Work program through our involvement with United Way," said Regis Eger, Plant Manager at the Timken Lincolnton Bearing Plant. "Every day, Timken associates make our world a better place through volunteerism, community leadership and financial support. We believe that investing in programs that invest in our youth will make Lincoln County better."
The Kids At Work program is designed to provide kids ages 12-17 with skills they need when they are ready to get hired for a job.
Employees at Duke Energy’s McGuire Nuclear Station raised $15,000 to support several community projects and agencies in Lincoln County.
The $15,000 donation was split between the following agencies and programs:
A Lincoln County student will receive funding to attend the National Academy of Future Scientist and Technologists in Boston, MA this summer. This student’s mom is a single parent who works three jobs and would otherwise this student wouldn't be able to attend.
Hospice and Palliative Care of Lincoln County received funding to provide care for patients that do not have a payer source like Medicaid, Medicare or insurance.
The Lincoln County Coalition Against Child Abuse received funding for a new refrigerator at the Child Advocacy Center, and gas cards to be given to clients who struggle with the transportation cost of taking children to therapy sessions.
The Lincoln County Coalition Against Domestic Violence received funding to assist with staffing and shelter expenses including overtime pay due to bad weather during the winter.
Sally’s YMCA received funding to support their Y Readers Program. This nationally recognized literacy program serves rising first through third grade students who are reading below grade level. Last year the program graduated 36 students.
The Department of Social Services received racking for their food closet. The new racks allowed them to expand and receive additional donations to support families in need.
FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) provided $37,481, of which $28,508 went to Hesed House homeless shelter to help they stay open year-round.
Atrium Health contributed $1000 to help out in the Day of Action in August when United Way volunteers worked to restock the Asbury Resource Center and get ready to help supply clothing and other needs for needy children headed back to school. Treadstone Group gave $500 for that effort to buy new undergarments. Ross Dress for Less kicked in $200.
In case you were unaware of how much more the United Way does in our community than just collect money and distribute what's given to the various agencies, you aren't alone.
The Division Chairs who took on the challenge of learning about UW and then sharing their knowledge with others and raising additional dollars for the campaign were also impressed. Billye and Brent Roland of State Farm Insurance, Dr. Robin Owings of Pro Wellness Chiropractic, and Debra Pope of Century 21 all agreed they learned more than they had known about United Way in their efforts. Brent Roland said "I had no idea United Way did all they do; I just didn't know." Actually, Brent, it's not they--it's YOU--because all of the volunteers, whether fundraising or helping out in projects is what makes United Way work for Lincoln County.
Contributions, of course, help to fund the various partner groups that do so much to improve the community, but those volunteer efforts are also very important--like the annual Prom Dress Giveaway done by the United Way Teen Board.
Executive Director Kathy Vinzant: "I want people to know that the Director understands the goodness of our community and I work very hard at making sure as much as our campaign as humanly possible goes to our agencies...which is why if I know Asbury has a need for a recognition luncheon that there are people in the community that will step up to donate. Woodforest Bank (Walmart) and RW Garcia stepped up to support the nacho bar, Aptar said they had 70 hamburgers left from a luncheon and called UW asking "where can we take them?"
"The House of Trophies always helped with award plaques and trophies, First Citizens Bank gave support for an etiquette class for the Don't Foul Out! program, Ross Bulla's Treadstone group gave thousands for the Asbury Resource Center; the Lincoln County Community Foundation gave $2000 for renovating an oudoor basketball court so kids could have a place to play. All of these things are in addition to what is contributed in the regular campaign."