WESTON, W.Va. — Ten weeks remain before the United Way of Gilmer, Lewis & Upshur closes its annual fundraising campaign, and the organization is only halfway toward its $75,000 goal.
Executive Director Becky Sias said she is optimistic that the United Way of Gilmer, Lewis & Upshur will meet its goal by the March 30 deadline.
“I don’t even really remember the last time that we didn’t make it. I know for a fact that we made it for the last seven years,” Sias said.
Sias said this year the United Way is slightly behind where they had hoped to be.
“This year is a little bit different for us because we had a lot of oil and gas companies in our area that have left,” she said. “We don’t have them this year to donate to our campaign, so that’s going to hurt us a little bit.”
The annual United Way campaign is vital, in that it provides funding for 28 agencies in Gilmer, Lewis and Upshur counties, such as Literacy Volunteers.
“They’re a great organization. They do one on one tutoring with adults, they have computer classes for them, and they help them get their GEDs, so it’s a pretty great program that we have over there,” Sias said. “Also in Upshur County, we have the Opportunity House, and they provide recovery housing for individuals with substance abuse problems, as well as recovery support.”
Organizations such as the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts also receive funding from the United Way, and the Grandparent Program in Lewis and Upshur counties is funded by the annual campaign as well.
“They provide us a grandparent that goes around to the schools,” Sias said. “I also work at Peterson Central Elementary School, and we have one of the ladies from the grandparent program there. She’s a lot of help and goes around to different classrooms where she’s needed.”
Sias said what many donors love about the United Way is that all of the money stays local.
“You can see where the money works, for instance, in our Lewis County Family Resource pantry,” she said. “They fed over 2,688 households last year, and the money that we give them, we’re seeing that it’s working and that they’re using that money. You see that they’re buying backpacks for kids. That’s the best part about United Way is that you that money is working in your community.”
In effort to reach their goal by March 30, the United Way of Gilmer, Lewis & Upshur has two upcoming fundraisers — Eat Wings, Raise Funds at Buffalo Wild Wings in Buckhannon on Jan. 29 and the annual elimination dinner on March 2.