United Way ready to launch Orange County campaign; see how to get involved

Published 12:32 am Sunday, August 28, 2022

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In advance of the fall campaign season, United Way of Orange County held a kickoff breakfast Thursday on the grounds of First Presbyterian Church in Orange.

In attendance were Workplace Campaign Leaders and Community Partners, UWOC staff and board members and members of First Presbyterian Church.

United Way’s kickoff breakfast had several goals: to inspire, inform and equip themselves in preparing to meet the fundraising campaign goal of at least $850,000.

The nonprofit organization works to “advance the common good.”

Efforts target improving the health, education and financial stability of Orange County residents.

The current campaign benefits 21 Southeast Texas-based community partner agencies, all who serve the residents of Orange County in demonstrable ways.

Board member and Campaign Chair Emily Mellen said last year community partners provided “226 children with safe afterschool programming, 101 children with new clothes and shoes, 112 neighbors with free income tax services and 29 adult males with free alcohol and drug recovery counseling.”

Campaign Chair Emily Mellen takes a fun photo with Melissa Evans. (Courtesy photo)

Agencies also assisted with feeding the elderly, providing safe shelter for domestic violence victims and more.

Community partner agencies include Greater Orange Area Literacy Services, Orange Community Action Association, OCARC, Shorkey Center, Southeast Texas Food Bank and more.

Each partner agency is a nonprofit based in Orange County or an organization serving Orange County residents.

A listing of community partners can be found at uwoctx.org.

“In many cases, the United Way is the largest donor to these agencies, and without that money, they wouldn’t be able to function,” Mellen said. “We also make sure that all of these organizations are serving Orange County residents and that 98 percent of funds stay local.”

Jefferson County agencies receive donor funds from United Way in some cases because they provide services to people in Orange County.

Mellen also noted that campaign funds will serve all Orange County residents.

“It’s not just for our neighbors in need,” she said. “Southeast Texas Hospice shares services across the socio-economic spectrum, and Stable Spirit helps if you have a child with special needs. They’re helping everyone, no matter your background.”

President and CEO Maureen McAllister delivered the keynote address for the kickoff breakfast, where she recognized her staff, acknowledged corporate sponsors and detailed the upcoming campaign and community engagement calendar.

The campaign begins in September and ends in late November, but donors are invited to contribute anytime.

This fall, the engagement calendar includes the Day of Caring, a Cornhole Tournament during the City of Orange Orangetober Festival, the Dean Granger Memorial 5K and Together Thursdays.

United Way of Orange County is located at 1506 West Park Avenue in Orange. Call 409-883-3591 or email info@uwoctx.org for more information.

— Written by Shari Hardin