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United Way gives to 17 agencies

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
In 1976, Meals on Wheels began delivering meals to 10 people. Now the organization averages 195 meals a day with 27 routes in Rowan County.
The meals are delivered to homebound individuals, people who can’t get out or cook for themselves.
The meals are at little or no cost to the clients. Who pays for the rest? Glad you asked. You do.
Contributions raised from the Rowan County United Way campaign are given to Meals on Wheels of Rowan County to help offset any direct cost of a meal.
The Rowan County United Way has 17 agencies it contributes money to for services to Rowan County residents.
For about six weeks, companies and individuals have held fundraisers to help these 17 agencies.
This year’s campaign goal was $1,766,000.
“It helps us fund the program to help keep delivering those meals to the homebound,” said Meals on Wheels Executive Director Rita Sims.
Sims said 70 percent of the people they serve cannot pay for the meals.
“Any kind of cut in funding can impact meals. We work very hard not to turn anyone away,” she said. “If our funding is cut, that affects us in how we are able to pay for these meals.”
Job help
Food Lion and General Electric are just two major companies that receive services from the clients of Rowan Vocational Opportunities.
The agency provides vocational training and employment for about 180 clients with various disabilities.
Rowan Vocational Opportunities provides transportation, direct care services, lunch, clothes and other basic needs for those clients.
Just 11 of those 180 clients are unsponsored, meaning the agency has no money to cover their care.
“United Way funds help those,” said Executive Director John Williams.
For 43 years, Rowan Vocational Opportunities has been helping its clients learn valuable skills.
“The United Way is very important. It provides us opportunities to serve unsponsored consumers, and without that we are not able to provide all services for these consumers,” Williams said.
The agency not only receives contributions from the United Way; it also gives.
This year, Rowan Vocational Opportunities set a fundraising goal of $4,000 and has exceeded that goal.
Williams said several fundraisers, including a fall festival, moved the organization toward that goal.
During the fall festival, clients brought in change. If they did, a member of the staff would have to kiss a pig and get a pie thrown in the face.
Williams was that person.
“It was well worth it, and it helped us meet our goal, which is important to all of us here,” he said.
Help in crisis
When the Family Crisis Council staff members sit down to determine the budget, they add in a line for the United Way.
“The United Way funding really helps us with general operating cost. It’s part of salaries and keeping the lights on,” said Executive Director Jeannie Preisler.
The state has cut funding, and donations from individuals are unpredictable, Preisler said.
The organization receives some money from foundations and a few grants.
“The United Way has been a way we’ve been able to keep our doors open,” she said.
The organization could be looking at cutting programs, which include the battered women’s shelter, a court advocacy program, individual and support group counseling, education and awareness community programs, volunteer programs and sexual assault response programs.
One in three women will be assaulted in their lives. One in four will experience domestic violence.
“Domestic violence and sexual assault are things we don’t talk about a lot. We see more of a need for our services,” Preisler said.
She said it’s important the Family Crisis Council stay viable and continue to provide these services.
“I’m absolutely positive we would’ve closed our doors without the United Way help,” Preisler said.
The final report meeting for the campaign is Nov. 10 at the Hurley Family YMCA.

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