United Way report meeting takes on political rally appearance

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Kathy Chaffin
Motorists on West Innes Street Wednesday may have thought there was a political rally going on at Salisbury Motor Company.
The main showroom was packed out around noon, with a few people overflowing onto the steps and sidewalk out front. A few wore red, white and blue campaign hats and held large “Vote for United Way” signs.
Uncle Sam (aka Tyler Weant of the Salisbury Kiwanis Club) and “Joe the Plumber” (aka Eric Slipp of AkzoNobel, formerly National Starch) even made special appearances at the fourth weekly report meeting for this year’s Rowan County United Way campaign.
Campaign Chairman Chuck Elliott announced that $1,169,007 ó 59.3 percent of this year’s $1,971,200 goal ó had been raised so far. “I know everybody’s done a lot of hard work,” he said.
With just two weeks to go before the Nov. 6 grand finale, Elliott said more than 80 campaigns are still under way and one large campaign is just beginning. In these difficult economic times, he said, it’s even more important that people give.
Pat Stellute, in reporting on the Presidents division, pointed to Performance Fibers and its service provider, UTi, as examples of giving even more in hard times. Performance Fibers’ employee contributions were up by 4 percent this year, he said, despite the 7 percent reduction in work force.
The company’s contribution was up by 17 percent. Stellute said the total amount raised by Performance Fibers was $70,000.
As for UTi, he said per capita giving was up 15 percent in a year when its work force was reduced by 20 percent.
“I think people are grateful for having a job,” Stellute said, “and they understand that in hard times, those who have have to share with those who do not.”
Elliott said people who see their co-workers laid off realize that it could happen to them. “They are grateful for what they do have,” he said, “and they want to show it.”
Though it was not planned as part of the program, representatives of some of the county’s 16 United Way agencies shared stories of how they had helped people while the United Way Public Relations Committee prepared for special entertainment for the volunteers.
Thomasina Page of Rufty-Holmes Senior Center reported that participation in classes had increased due to the new Archibald C. Rufty Fitness Annex.
A United Way Community Impact Grant of $25,000 helped finance the new fitness center.
Steve Simpson, executive director of the Hanford-Dole Chapter of the American Red Cross, said the agency had helped 84 individuals and/or families after fires damaged or destroyed their residences this past year.
Dr. Windsor Eagle, principal of Salisbury High School, brought up how the annual United Way Day of Caring projects had benefited the schools. “All the Rowan-Salisbury schools are appreciative of what you do with us in this capacity,” he said.
Jim Sawyer, field director of the Boy Scouts of America, another United Way agency, said 3,000 Scouts and their parents will be participating in a camping trip this weekend.
Also at the meeting, two more finalists were drawn for the free car to be given away at the grand finale: Pam Morris of Salisbury High School and Les-Lee Efird of Carson High School.
They made three employees of the Rowan-Salisbury School System to be drawn as finalists. The name of Tammy Eudy of Bostian Elementary was drawn at last week’s meeting.
“This education group, they’re benefitting,” Elliott said.
The Education division also led the others in the percentages of goals collected so far, raising $210,433, which is 96.2 percent of its goal. Other totals and percentages by division were as follows:
Industrial 1 – $50,847, 50.7 percent of goal; Industrial 2 – $42,203, 46.7 percent; Commercial 1 – $34,778, 43.5 percent; Commercial 2 – $76,652, 90.3 percent; Commercial 3 – $49,422, 68.3 percent; Community Business – $2,316, 27.2 percent;
Public Employees – $104,206, 71.9 percent; Professionals – $76,378, 69.4 percent; Chairmans – $149,240, 29.8 percent; Special Gifts – $119,723, 95.5 percent; Presidents – $200,709, 53.5 percent; and Miscellaneous – $52,100, 86.8 percent.