OC United Way continues to build awareness, help community

Published 9:33 am Wednesday, March 14, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader


United Way of Orange County has seen many changes in the last 12 months from the retiring of Director Linn Cardner to long term recovery efforts from Tropical Storm Harvey.

President and CEO Maureen McAllister hit the ground running as she took on her new role with the organization.

“We continue to build awareness in the community,” McAllister said. “The agencies we support still need funding.”

Through McAllister, the area received $550,000 for Disaster Relief Funds.

“The disaster funds cannot be used for campaign funds,” McAllister said during the banquet. “While we support agencies outside the county, they are helping provide a service for people in Orange County.”

Jackson Community Center is newest addition of organizations the agency provides funding for each year.

“This has been a very unusual and unexpectedly difficult campaign year,” Chairman of the Board Brian Beach said. “Without question, the unfortunate flooding through out our community from Hurricane Harvey placed a huge burden on our community.”

The agency collected $776,862 in pledges for the year.

The top five donors for 2017 were:

  1. International Paper
  2. DuPont SRW
  3. Chevron-Phillips
  4. Firestone Polymers
  5. Arlanxeo

During the disaster efforts, the agency handled over 350 phone calls in the first 10 days, distributed $188,000 relief supplies to individuals through partner agencies such as Salvation Army and Friends Helping Friends, gave over 75 comfort kits to children, and distributed over 150 pieces of furniture and 50 twin mattresses which had been donated.

McAllister also reminded those in attendance that orders for the Harvey Commemorative Book will need to order soon. Proceeds from the book will go to the Disaster Recovery Funds.

“It is a long process in recovery,” McAllister said. “We want to help now and those later.”

It is also reported Pete’s Dueling Pianos event was a success with raising over $44,000. The agency is planning on host another event in the future.