The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 21, 2013

United Way helping thousands

United Way column

By Frank Wood

— A woman seeking employment may find the resources for her job interview, eventually becoming a full-time assistant manager at a local clothing store.

An elderly man who depends on charitable organizations for his survival might receive several nutritious meals a week that enable him to regain his strength and will to live.

A mother may turn to a local counseling service for advice on helping her teenage daughter.

When most people think of the United Way, they usually picture a large, national organization that offers critical response in time of sudden disasters. They don’t think of the thousands of people in our region who are helped each year through various programs that are supported by local businesses and volunteers from our community.

In reality, the United Way of Southern West Virginia continues to be a dynamic part of our area with its focus on community charity, education, hunger, safety and well-being — all building blocks for a good quality of life.

In our five-county region of Raleigh, Fayette, Nicholas, Summers and Wyoming, we are making a stand to advance the common good by being the leadership and support organization for over 34 community partners.

Partnering with United Way of Southern West Virginia is a winning opportunity for everyone — employers, employees, groups and individuals.

Running a United Way campaign helps provide businesses and employees with the resources they need during times of both prosperity and hardship.

Some of the resulting benefits include child care, school readiness, emergency food and housing, health care, family counseling, substance abuse counseling, workforce development and more.

The United Way can also coordinate corporate volunteer programs and opportunities for those looking to make a difference in our community.

Such activities not only foster team spirit and boost morale, but the experience also helps employees to strengthen leadership skills and increase overall productivity.

In other words, your organization has an opportunity to become a contributing corporate citizen, and the resulting goodwill creates a favorable impression among customers and clients.

The rewards of helping your neighbors through times of adversity can be more gratifying than monetary gains. The more you are ready and able to give of your time and skills, the more you will feel compensated for your efforts in providing for others.

Over the years, the local United Way has done extraordinary work to improve people’s lives and build strong communities in southern West Virginia.

After all, by supporting the United Way, our leadership can help provide solutions to community problems and make our part of heaven a better place to live and work.

Important events:

- Christmas Tree sponsors needed. The fifth annual Wonderland of Trees event is around the corner and we need at least 10 more tree sponsors. If your business is not sponsoring a tree or if an individual wants to be a sponsor, call the United Way at 304-253-2111. The trees will be displayed at Lewis Automotive starting Nov. 8.

- The Fall 2013 Denim for a Difference campaign is in full swing and over 40 groups have registered to allow their employees to wear jeans to work beginning today. E-mail to find out more or get involved.

- There’s one more weekend to have fun at Glade Springs Fright Nights. Come on out to the Resort at Glade Springs this Friday or Saturday night and find out why Fright Nights has been voted the best haunted attraction in southern West Virginia three years running. Call 866-562-8054 or e-mail for more information.

— United Way of Southern West Virginia 2013-2014 Campaign Chair Frank Wood is publisher of Beckley Newspapers.