The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 9, 2013

United Way helping disadvantaged during holidays

United Way column

By Frank Wood
United Way column

— We’re fully into the holiday season and that means many local charities are busy trying to make sure everyone enjoys the celebrations.

With all the hustle and bustle, though, it’s easy to lose sight of one of the best things about life this time of year — giving back to others.

And your giving doesn’t have to be limited to just your family and friends. Why not support the United Way of Southern West Virginia with a small or large donation to help the needy in our area?

For decades the United Way of Southern West Virginia has partnered with nonprofit agencies in the effort to help thousands of disadvantaged families during the holidays.

Some 34 support agencies in the five-county area of Fayette, Raleigh, Wyoming, Summers and Nicholas now are working to identify families seeking help.

The United Way of our region is able to make the holiday season a little brighter for children in need and their families through the annual donation drive. The simple act of donating a few dollars can make all the difference for a child in need.

Throughout the year, the United Way of Southern West Virginia receives phone calls and e-mails from individuals who want to do their part, whether it’s giving financially, advocating for a cause or volunteering their time to make an impact in our community and neighborhoods.

The United Way makes volunteering fun and easy. It also provides a stress-free way to create memories with your loved ones.

The United Way also focuses on underlying causes to get to the heart of local problems and to help prevent them from happening in the first place — such as preparing youth to succeed in school today and in the jobs of tomorrow.

The United Way of Southern West Virginia is part of a national movement of more than 1,300 locally governed organizations that meet stringent accountability standards required to use the United Way name and logo.

While the local United Way tackles issues based on local needs, common focus areas include helping children and youth to succeed, improving access to health care, promoting self-sufficiency and strengthening families.

The aim of United Way is to mobilize people to work together to strengthen the community and solve problems related to three impact areas: education, health care and self-reliance. Many people think of it as a fundraiser, but there is a lot more to what we do. We identify community needs, collaborate with nonprofit partners that can help fulfill those needs, provide money and other support to those partners who perform the work necessary to move the community forward, and then we follow up and look at the results of their work.

When you give to the United Way of Southern West Virginia, you immediately become part of the collective power of generosity. Every individual has a different desire and ability to give. That’s why there are unlimited levels of giving that allow you to contribute to the health of our community within our own means.

Regardless of the amount of your contribution, we promise to combine your gift with others to deliver long-term solutions for southern West Virginia’s people in need.

Our goals are ambitious, but with your help, and by utilizing our core strengths — a national network, committed partners and public engagement capacity — we can achieve them and our goal of $525,000 this campaign year.

Our website is http://unitedwayswv.org and our phone number is 304-253-2111.

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