The fundraising efforts of United Way of Southern West Virginia support the agencies we partner with in our service area and maintain our direct programs, the Equal Footing Shoe Fund and 2-1-1 Information and Referral Hotline. Our service area includes the counties of Nicholas, Fayette, Raleigh, Wyoming, Mercer, Summers, and McDowell and the town of Bluefield, Va.

Our partner agencies must provide support in our service area, and their programs must align with the pillars of our mission, promoting health, education, and financial stability. Our approved partner agencies in 2021 include food pantries, baby pantries, youth development, utility assistance, women’s resources, recovery programs, child advocacy centers, and senior centers.

These programs provide vital resources to our community. They address the most distressing needs of our society, and their directors, advocates, and volunteers do it with purpose, passion, and respect for their clients. Together, with these agencies, we tackle the complex problems that do not have simple solutions.

Local food and baby pantries have seen an increased need for services through 2020 and have stepped up to address those needs. One in four children in southern West Virginia lives with food insecurity and the health and developmental problems that result. United, we support families who are struggling with food insecurity. United, we provide resources to families battling to provide the necessities to their children.

Child advocacy centers, like Just for Kids that serves children in Raleigh, Fayette, and Wyoming counties, bring justice, hope, and healing to victims of abuse. Almost 80 percent of children who are interviewed disclose abuse and over 300 children were interviewed in 2019. Child advocacy centers collaborate with law enforcement, medical and mental health professionals, prosecutors, and child protective service workers to empower children, restore hope, and end abuse. United, we provide resources to children in abusive homes.

For many seniors, the interaction when a meal is delivered may be the only contact those individuals experience. There are many seniors who live alone without the ability to cook for themselves, or the opportunity to shop for their own groceries. The Raleigh County Commission on Aging has seen a 40 percent increase in the number of home-delivered meals since the start of the pandemic. United, we fight for the struggles of home-bound seniors who live alone.

A child with shoes that do not fit, have holes, or are weather-inappropriate faces many challenges, including stigmatization by their peers, inability to participate in physical activity such as P.E., and safety concerns. We hope that by providing children with a pair of new, athletic style shoes they are better able to concentrate on things children should be thinking about: school, friends, and fun. United, we stand up for children who do not have safe, appropriate shoes.

To join others in southern West Virginia who live, give, and lead UNITED, visit our website to make a secure, one-time or recurring donation at unitedwayswv.org. Contributions may also be made over the phone at 304-253-2111 or by mail at PO Box 5456, Beckley, WV 25801.

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