When times get tough, the funding needs of United Way agencies tend to grow stronger.
The American Red Cross, the Counseling Vouching Program, legal services, dental clinic, Associated Charities, HOPE Community Center, Housing First affordable housing, Hospice of Lenawee and others—the county-wide programming by the Lenawee United Way addresses a variety of needs and ages.
“There is no doubt that these are very challenging times in our economy, but that makes the need all the more urgent,” said the United Way’s Amy Palmer. “Many of our agencies are overwhelmed with the increased volume of need from working families and individuals who require extra support to help make ends meet.”
A portion of the county collection is returned directly to communities. Nearly $5,000 was recently distributed among four Morenci programs from United Way funds collected last year, but that was far short of the requests made.
“Nobody was fully funded through United Way,” said Morenci chair Brad Frederick, “but everybody requesting funds got something.”
More than $11,000 was divided among five agencies the previous year and more than $10,000 was requested from five agencies this year. With the steep drop in donations, four programs received limited funding from the United Way and two programs received direct donations from a local industry.
“There wasn’t enough money to go around,” said Morenci board member Simone Haas. “I thought it was just awful.”
As a co-owner of Roth Fabricating, Haas said she and co-owner Shane Sarnac decided to fill the gap.
“We’ve done well this year so it was our way of giving back to the community,” she said.
Roth gave $1,000 to the city’s Summer Recreation Program and $1,500 to the winter clothing campaign at Morenci Elementary School, to buy coats, hats and mittens for children in need of warm winter gear.
The local United Way allocations board—Frederick, Haas, Jennifer Blaker, Rosemary Dickerson and Kyle Griffith—awarded $1,000 to the Summer Recreation program; $1,838 to Stair Public Library; $1,000 to the Morenci Elementary School PTO for the fifth grade camping experience; and $1,160 to the Morenci Fire Department.
In order to receive funding, agencies now must meet 501c3 federal guidelines and address one of four areas: basic needs; employment and self-sufficiency; health; and youth at risk.
Any donation of $100 or more can be designated for a particular eligible agency.
Anyone making donations through payroll deductions should file a pledge form by the end of November, Frederick said, and individuals should make gifts by mid-December at the latest.
To obtain a pledge form, call Frederick at 517/605-1020.