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Provide a 'Way'

Bring on the pledges.
The annual United Way of Screven County campaign kicks off Sept. 1 as it becomes increasingly important to raise money in support of those groups who are in need.
This event that each year jump starts the campaign to generate funds for 20-plus local agencies will be in the social hall of the First United Methodist Church in Sylvania at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and the meal will be sponsored by Farmers And Merchants Bank.
Representatives from various agencies are scheduled to talk about how United Way funds benefit residents who are part of the agencies.
The central focus of the campaign is to raise funds that will help provide support to local agencies that assist individuals and families in need. The goal this year is $95,000.
“We need it more than ever,” said Cathy Kight, executive director of the local United Way.
United Way-funded agencies that will be called upon during the economic crisis include, but are not limited to, Team for the Elderly, Meals on Wheels, American Red Cross Chapter, Screven County Hospital Outreach, Screven County Crisis Fund, Safe Haven, Soup Kitchen and St. Camillus Mobile Health Clinic.
A United Way agency the Senior Companion Program, Kight said, provides a person to sit with an elderly person so a son or daughter can go to work. Funding from United Way makes this possible, she said.
“People are being laid off and people are asking for food,” Kight said. “We are living in a community where we have so many with needs.”
Kight said she understands that financially times are tense, but every little bit helps.
“Our community is one the most giving communities around. We are so blessed,” she said. “We are really going to have to be more dependent on individuals and our small businesses to pull us through this year. We ask that they do what they can.
“People are really going to have dig deep and realize the old United Way saying of ‘What Matters.’ United Way matters in our community,” Kight said.
To make a tax-deductible pledge, a check can be made payable to the United Way of Screven County at P.O. Box 27, Sylvania GA 30467. For the contribution to stay in the county, designate it for Screven.
For a pledge of $150, an individual can become a “Pacesetter,” but any contribution to the campaign will be readily accepted.
“You care about your neighbor. We know you do,” Kight said.
Of the money raised for United Way, 92 percent of all of it remains in Screven County for the local agencies. The additional 8 percent is designated for administrative and fund-raising services.
For more information or to make a pledge, contact Kight at the United Way office at 564-1160.
Although the campaign has not officially began, at least one agency already has stepped up and produced a newsletter to urge its employees to participate in the program that generates money so agencies can render aid to so many.
“Screven County, Georgia faces many issues as other rural counties across the United States including a small but decreasing population base (approximately 15,000) and increasing unemployment rate (greater than 14 percent),” reads the newsletter from Savannah River Nuclear Solutions. “The United Way of Screven County brings hope and services to this community. One recent example of the United Way in action was the hosting of a community awareness meeting to notify people who had lost their jobs or were short on food or other types of needs.”
The SRS newsletter said that the local United Way provides support in four targeted areas that matter to the people of Screven County: children, adults, seniors and crisis needs.
“Each area has its special needs,” reads the newsletter which requests SRS employees be generous with their pledges.