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Flapjack Give Back puts pancakes in bellies and helps your community

The annual Flapjack Give Back event to benefit the United Way of Screven and its supported agencies will be Sept. 14 as school system club advisors serve as celebrity chefs.
Each celebrity chef will prepare her own versions of specialty pancakes. Sausage, grits and beverages will be available in the Sylvania First United Methodist social hall from 5 to 7 p.m. The meals are $5 and can be either dine-in or carry-out at the Give Back that is sponsored by Neighbors Express.
This year’s chefs will be Wynn Pollock, who will represent Family, Career and Community Leaders of America or FCCLA; Dawne Gibson, who will present the Future Business Leaders of America or FBLA; Laura Mills, who will represent the high school Interact Club, a Sylvania Rotary Club-sponsored club on the SCHS campus; Nancy Sell, who will represent FFA; and Lauren Boykin, who will represent the county’s 4-H program.
Sharon Milner was last year’s winner.
The chef who receives the most money in her tip jar by the end of the evening will be named this year’s winner and receive the traveling annual trophy.
Tickets will be sold in advance of the Thursday evening meal at the Newington and Sylvania branches of the Bank of Newington, Sylvania Telephone, Possum Eddy Ace Hardware, Screven County Chamber of Commerce, Screven County Sheriff’s Office, and from United Way board members. Plates also can be bought the night of the fundraiser as the money generated from the event goes toward the United Way’s $75,000 campaign goal for 2017-2018.
For more information, contact the local United Way office at 205 Mims Road in Sylvania at 564-5770.
The United Way of Screven County board members have been busy with its annual campaign by thanking those who have given to the cause in previous years and scheduling campaign visits with businesses and organizations.
Unlike many of the other United Ways that raise funding for multiple counties, the United Way of Screven County raises money for one county – Screven.
The money raised by the United Way of Screven County stays in Screven County aid those who are in need.
A luncheon at the county extension office to honor the Pacesetters was held on Aug. 15. The event that was sponsored by Gaines Funeral Home, ELK Group International, Brown’s Kountry Kitchen, Screven County Sheriff’s Office, and Your Vision My Time, thanked those who donate $150 or more to the United Way campaign.
The lunch was a Boston butt meal with cole slaw, beans and a choice of dessert as more than 100 invitations were mailed out to previous Pacesetters.
United Way of Screven County executive director Lorie Autry asked the Pacesetters, who are consistent in their annual giving, to talk to others in the community about how much United Way can and has done for its citizens.
“I am asking that you help in getting the word out,” Autry said.
The United Way president Tracy McKinney said she thanks those who have been faithful in giving to United Way over the years, noting there are many in the county who need assistance through the supported agencies.
At the luncheon, representatives from the Screven County Soup Kitchen, the Senior Companion Program, the Screven County Community Collaborative, and the Screven County Crisis Fund explained how important the funds are that they received from United Way.
“When we think of hungry, we don’t think of anyone in Screven County,” said Mary Robbins with the Soup Kitchen, “but in Newington, Rocky Ford, Jenk Hill people are hungry too. Unfortunately, Screven County is no different.”
Robbins said that on each Saturday more than 200 individuals receive meals through the soup kitchen because of volunteers and civic groups who fix and deliver the meals.
“It is a service. It is a ministry,” Robbins said. “United Way is our primary source. Without the United Way, there would be no soup kitchen.”
Robbins said the soup kitchen operates for the full 52 weeks of the year, no matter if a holiday occurs during meal deliver dates.
“Hunger is a year-long program. Just because it is Christmas does not mean the soup kitchen stops,” Robbins said. “We need a lot of money ya’ll. That’s the bottom line.
“The demand for food is a year-long thing,” she said.
Deb Blackburn-Pless, the Senior Companion Program coordinator, said loneness is a health risk. Studies of elderly people and social isolation concluded that those without adequate social interaction were twice as likely to face severe health programs.
The mission of the program is to provide quality volunteer experience that will enrich the lives of the volunteers while helping the homebound, older adults and individuals with disabilities maintain their dignity and independence in their own home.
Senior Companions assist adults who need extra support to live independently in their own homes. They serve frail older adults; adults with disabilities; those with terminal illness; and offer respite for care givers. Senior companions care for adults in area counties including. The companions serve 15-40 hours per week and earn tax-free hourly, meal, and mileage stipends.
Deloris Benton was a classroom teacher at Screven County Middle School. Benton had a stroke that has kept her from being able to handle daily routines and travel without assistance.
“The senior companion program brings the outside world to the inside of the house,” said Benton, who has Screven County resident Rosa Seabrooks as her senior companion. “She is the sunshine in my day.
“I had a stroke in the classroom. It has been debilitating, but not to my mouth. I can still talk,” said a jovial Benton. “Rosa is a special friend. I hope you open your hearts for United Way.”
“The Senior Companion Program loves me and I love the Senior Companion Program,” Seabrooks said. “There is so much love that comes into your home.”
“She goes to the mailbox for me, tells me what has happened out there today,” Benton said of Seabrooks.
Cathy Kight, the executive director of the Screven County Community Collaborative, said Pacesetters are vital to United Way reaching its goal. Kight showed a Coke and a candy bar to those who gathered for the Aug. 14 luncheon.
The amount, Kight said, was $3.22. If a person were to give that amount to United Way each week for a year then that person would be achieve Pacesetter status.
“For all those who are Pacesetters, I want to tell you thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Kight said.
Kight said funding from United Way helps the state-acclaimed tech bus go to various neighborhoods during the school year and summer. The bus that has been gutted of its traditional passenger seating for counter space and laptops offers children a learning experience with Wi-Fi. Teachers are on the bus to help students with homework. SCMS teacher Brad Waits has been on the bus each week and drives the mobile yellow learning bus.
“They are waiting on us to arrive,” Kight said of children at the designated stops. “They don’t have the transportation, but with the tech bus we can go to them.”
Kight said United Way funds help the collaborative provide assistance to the schools, offer family nights, and give books to students.
The Screven County Crisis Fund, just as its name says, is money for people who are need of immediate assistance.
Shelvone Sheppard, who coordinates the Crisis Fund, said the agency is solely funded by United Way. The money is given to those who are short on paying their electric bills and rent as well as other needs.
While United Way board are working hard to raise money through donations, pledges, and events, more money is needed to help the many in the county who need assistance. United Way and the agencies would help more financially if the funding were there.
“We are only able to give up to $100,” Sheppard said. “We have a lot of crisis situations that I can’t even touch. There is a great need in Screven County. This is our home.”