Call this a good-news, good-news kind of story.
The good news is Bryan County residents again set a record for donations to the United Way of the Coastal Empire, giving nearly $90,000 to help fund programs locally and across the UWCE’s four-county service area.
That’s 20 percent more than the $75,000 organizers had hoped to raise for the 2013 campaign.
Kristi Cox, director of the UWCE’s Bryan County office, called it humbling.
“I’m humbled by the fact everyone is so generous,” she said. “(This) is a community that is really full of generosity.”
The other good news is that the Bryan County Board of Education posted a 149 percent increase in giving over 2012, as BoE employees donated more than $27,000 to the UWCE campaign.
The amount of the increase was the largest among donors in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty counties, Cox said, and led the UWCE to create the H.V. Jenkins Award for Campaign Excellence for the honor.
Bryan County Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher said the award recognized the system’s employees and the BoE.
“This award is a direct result of a quality board of education and a faculty and staff who truly are focused on excellence and success in all they do,” Brooksher said.
Also honored with the award was the St. Joseph’s Candler Health System. Other top givers in Bryan were Hobart and Pembroke Advanced Communications.
In all, donations from Bryan County were slightly more than $89,000 — an increase of around $1,200 from 2012, which also set a record campaign mark for the county.
And more donations are expected — and appreciated, Cox said.
“We definitely like to thank the community for coming together and being so generous in providing funding that will impact the lives of so many people — not only in Bryan County but also in our four-county area,” she said.
In all, donations go toward more than 61 agencies in the UWCE area. Local programs include partnership food pantries with First Baptist Church Richmond Hill and Eleo’s and Faith Harvest Sanctuary in North Bryan.
Other programs include Backpacks of Love, which in partnership with New Beginnings Community Church and Faith Harvest provides meals to kids on both ends of the county, and SHEP suppers, a once-a-week meal-delivery service to the elderly and disabled in North Bryan.
Read more in the Nov. 27 edition of the News.