Because change does not happen alone, United Way fundraising campaign begins

Published 10:27 am Saturday, August 31, 2019

By Dawn Burleigh

A campaign to raise funds for the United Way has begun.

According to a presentation during the annual United Way Campaign Kickoff breakfast on Thursday, in 2018, over 9,645 Orange County residents were served through our Partner Agencies.  Some of those services include:

  • 2,810 clients provided food, clothing, furniture, utility or rent assistance.
  • 52 families provided with palliative care for a loved one.
  • 97,500 hot meals provided to elderly or disabled individuals.
  • 37 clients provided overnight accommodations while they or their loved ones received medical treatments.
  • 1,942 children housed, fed, educated, mentored, made feel safe and healthy.
  • 87 clients assisted with income tax services.
  • 1,249 clients provided substance treatment.
  • 835 disabled clients served.
  • 30 individuals helped with GED, ESL, or adult literacy.
  • 106 clients received counseling for mental health issues.
  • 2,735 clients received support from crisis and education regarding crisis situations.

Through the power of telling the stories of donors, teamwork, and data, United Way hopes to put the fun in fundraiser this year.

“It is touching to see what the agencies do,” Kristen Placette, co-chair for the campaign. “I have visited all but four over the five years I have been on the board.” 

Yousuf Ahmed is the chair for the campaign. He was unable to attend the breakfast.

President and CEO Maureen McAllister added that all the agencies offer a different service.

“From putting meals on tables to helping a child get out of a bad situation,” McAllister said. “It is local people who donate, and advocate. What starts local, stays local. This is not a handout. It is a hand up.”

Board of Director Chair Michael Bearden shared a story an agency shared with United Way:

“A woman with four children called the women and children’s shelter hotline. She had borrowed the car which they had slept in the night before. The husband had left the wife and the four children at a truck stop far from everything and no job…”

In 63 days, the client had a new beginning with a job, a place to call home and custody of her children. 

In another story shared, a four-year-old child was found in a drug house during a raid. The baby could not say her name, and could only say the word no. CASA, a new agency with United Way, was an advocate for the child who was placed in foster care. She was adopted a year later on National Adoption Day. 

Each of the 22 agencies have similar success stories. The agencies focus on one of three areas: health, education, and financial stability.

In the coming months, Chemical Row second annual Chili Cookoff is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 at the Dow Business Center (formerly DERA) at 2601 Irving Street in West Orange. Preorder chili by Friday, September 20 and pay only $7 for bowl of chili, crackers, and soft drink or bottled water; $10 at the door. Preorders will be provided by Old Orange Cafe. Delivery available for preorders of 10 or more. $20 wristbands to taste all the chili entries and receive one bowl of chili, crackers, and a drink. Meet and greet Partner Agency representatives and have a chance to win door prizes.

Entries are now open to all businesses. Complete the entry form and submit by September 20.

All chili proceeds benefit United Way of Orange County.

For questions or to preorder, contact 409-883-3591 or

Save the date for the annual Granger 5K walk/run to benefit the United Way of Orange County starting at 8 a.m. on Oct. 12. The race is professionally timed, and medals will be award to the Top three finishers by age group. Register early at Event is hosted by Granger Chevrolet.