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UnitedWay kicks off Tuesday
A group of Bryan County senior citizens play games recently during the United Way’s Shepherd’s Supper program, which delivers meals to 90 low-income elderly and people on disability - photo by Photo provided.
The United Way of the Coastal Empire, the local chapter of the national organization, was formed with the goal of “improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities,” and the 2010 Bryan County Campaign Kick-Off is set with a luncheon on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at the John W. Stevens Wetlands Education Center in J.F. Gregory Park in Richmond Hill.
“I hope everyone will come, have a lovely time, go away with something new and learn about what we do. It takes a lot of people to reach a goal,” Janice Blunt, area director, said.
United Way is a volunteer-driven agency that works to improve quality of life in four major areas: education and youth development, health and wellness, economic independence and basic human needs.
Through the contributions of private citizens, local businesses and governments, United Way supports other local and national charities collectively, and none of the funds are used to pay administrative costs of running UWCE.
“I think that what a lot of people don’t understand is that the money that they donate stays in our area … so when people donate, they’re helping their neighbors,” Blunt said.
In Bryan County, specific programs have been developed based on the needs of residents.
Youth organizations, such as the Richmond Hill YMCA and the Coastal Empire Council of the Boy Scouts of America, benefit from United Way funding.
Other community programs that the Bryan County office supports include Shepherd’s Supper, whose volunteers prepare and deliver meals to seniors and low-income families, an emergency food pantry, free tax preparation for county residents making less than $40,000 annually and many more.
Donations through United Way of the Coastal Empire can also contribute to local chapters of popular charities such as the American Cancer Society, American Red Cross and Army Community Services.
When making a financial contribution, donors can choose to specify which program their donation will benefit.  And there are many ways for both individuals and businesses to give.
Employment contributions, a small amount deducted from each paycheck, may be put directly towards Bryan County charities. Volunteer and advocacy opportunities are available for those who would rather donate their time.
“Everything helps. No gift is too small,” said Blunt.
This year, UWCE will add to their focus a new group of people.
“What I’m seeing in Bryan County is not necessarily unemployment, but underemployment, so our services are reaching a new group of people that have not had to ask for services in the past,” explained Blunt.
For reservation information about the Sept. 14 luncheon, please call 653-5344. To find out more about how you can get involved, visit

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