Build a Backpack School Supply Drive A Success!

Due to the tremendous response from local businesses, churches and community members, this year’s Build a Backpack school supply drive was a huge success.  The drive, which was coordinated by the United Way of Chatham County, collected backpacks, notebooks, binders, paper, pencils, crayons and other supplies.

“The response from the community has been truly overwhelming,” commented Dina Reynolds, Executive Director of the United Way of Chatham County.  “We received almost 300 backpacks this year and 100 of them were laptop backpacks.  This is especially important because Chatham County is one of the few North Carolina counties that issues laptop computers to all high school students.”

The supplies will be distributed by the Chatham County Schools’ Basic Needs Program.  Those in need of school supplies should contact their child’s school guidance counselor.  The counselor will contact the Basic Needs Coordinator for Chatham County Schools to make arrangements for your child to receive the supplies that are required by their teacher.

“We are very appreciative of the community’s consideration of our students,” said Tracy Fowler, Executive Director of Student Services and Support Programs for Chatham County Schools.  “Because of their concern and participation, our children in need will go to school better equipped to succeed.”

Area businesses and churches that collected school supplies for the Build a Backpack school supply drive include:  Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church, Chapel Ridge, Eastern Chatham Senior Center, Governors Club, Pittsboro Presbyterian Church, Realty World Carolina Properties, Virginia Cross Elementary School and the Western Chatham Senior Center.

United Way staff members Alane Coore and Katie Childs prepare donated school supplies for distribution to the school system, as a result of the generous response to United Way’s back-to-school supply drive by Chatham County residents.

Posted in Events

WRAL News Anchor Gerald Owens to Emcee the United Way Campaign Kick-Off

Join the United Way of Chatham County for an afternoon of celebration at the 2018 Campaign Kick-Off and Annual Meeting.  It will be held in the clubhouse ballroom of Governors Club on Wednesday, September 5 from 11:30 am – 2:00 pm.

WRAL News Anchor Gerald Owens will serve as the event emcee.  Chatham Health Department Director Layton Long will share results for the 2018 Community Assessment conducted by the Chatham Health Alliance.  NC 2-1-1 Statewide Strategy Director Heather Black will introduce Chatham’s new information & referral resource and discuss how it can assist those in need of community resources.

Lunch will be catered by Governors Club.  A member agency expo will provide guests with an opportunity to learn about the human resource services available in our community.  Representatives will be available to share information regarding the services they provide and the volunteer opportunities they offer.

United Way is the advocate and benefactor of 18 human service agencies in Chatham County.  They are:  Boys & Girls Club, Chatham Cares Pharmacy, 4-H, Chatham Literacy Council, Chatham Trades, Communities In Schools, CORA Food Pantry, Council on Aging, El Futuro, Girl Scouts, Legal Aid, Partnership for Children, Reach Out and Read, Rebuilding Together, Salvation Army, Sprott Youth Center, The Learning Trail and West Chatham Food Pantry.

Tickets are $25 per person.  Reserve yours by calling the United Way office at (919) 542-1110 by Friday, August 31.

Sponsors for the 2018 Campaign Kick-Off include: AT&T North Carolina, Briar Chapel by Newland Communities, Duke Energy, Governors Club, Laurels of Chatham, Nationwide Insurance, and Realty World Carolina Properties.

Posted in Agencies, Campaign, Communities, Events, Organization

United Way Begins “Build A Backpack” School Supply Drive!

United Way Staff organize donations from the “Build A Backpack” supply drive.

The United Way of Chatham County will hold its annual back-to-school supply drive from Monday, July 16 through Friday, August 3.

Community members are asked to donate school supplies for children in need.  Items may be dropped off at the United Way office at 72 Hillsboro Street in Pittsboro, as well as at several participating businesses throughout the county.

United Way coordinates the drive and distributes materials collected to Chatham County Schools.  The school system identifies students in need of basic school supplies and works with United Way to meet that need.

According to the Kids Count Data Center, 52% of Chatham County school children receive free or reduced cost lunch, and the percentages in some schools are much higher.  In addition, almost 17% of Chatham’s school children are living in poverty.

“The primary need is for backpacks, especially laptop backpacks for the high school children,” said Rosemarie Rovito, Basic Needs Coordinator for Chatham County Schools, “There is also a great need for composition notebooks, pocket folders, large three-ring binders, subject dividers, notebook paper, crayons, colored pencils, pens, pencils, glue sticks, highlighters, hand sanitizer, rulers, scientific calculators, pencil pouches, pencil sharpeners and erasers.”

Drop-off locations in Siler City include: Walmart, the Western Chatham Senior Center and Virginia Cross Elementary School.

Drop-off locations in Pittsboro are:  Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church, Chapel Ridge, Eastern Chatham Senior Center, Pittsboro Presbyterian Church, Realty World/Carolina Properties, United Way and Walmart.

Monetary donations can be mailed to the United Way of Chatham County at P.O. Box 1066, Pittsboro, NC, 27312.  Checks should be made out to United Way, with “Build a Backpack” in the memo portion.  One hundred percent of donations will be used to buy school supplies.

“Last year, the back-to-school supply drive provided school supplies for over 300 children in need,” said United Way of Chatham County Director Dina Reynolds.  “Education for our children is the greatest investment a community can make.”

Those in need of school supplies should contact their child’s school guidance counselor.  They will contact the Basic Needs Coordinator for Chatham County Schools to make arrangements for your child to receive the supplies that are required by their teacher.

For more information about donating schools supplies, contact “Build A Backpack” Coordinator Alane Coore at the United Way of Chatham County office by phone at 542-1110 or by e-mail at uwayadmn@emji.net.

Posted in Agencies, Campaign, Communities, Events, Organization

United Way Celebrates Community at Agency Fair!

United Way and fifteen of its member agencies celebrated community last night at their Agency Fair with face painting, fun and Dolly Parton! The event took place at The Veranda at Briar Chapel from 4-6 p.m. and included a clown, live music and information about how to get involved with some of Chatham’s non-profit organizations. Agency representatives helped enroll children in programs like Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, distributed information about volunteer opportunities and even shared success stories from their clients. Thank you to everyone who came out to enjoy the fun.

Posted in Events

United Way Agency Fair at Briar Chapel’s Varanda

Posted in Agencies, Campaign, Communities, Events, Organization

Chatham Volunteer Recognized by Governor’s Office

Pamela Caruso is presented with the 2018 NC Medallion award by First Lady Kristin Cooper. This is the tenth year that the Governor’s Office has presented this award. Caruso is the third Chatham County resident to ever receive this award.

Pamela Caruso, a Chatham County Council on Aging volunteer was awarded the 2018 Medallion Award by the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.  She was one of the honorees at the award ceremony held on May 7, at the State Capitol in Raleigh.   Caruso was recognized for her outstanding volunteer service in Chatham County.

Caruso has volunteered with the Chatham County Council on Aging for the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) for more than eight years.  She has also volunteered for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) for over ten years.  She has dedicated over 200 hours to these programs, assisting low-income families and seniors.

Eight Commissioners for the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service attended the award ceremony in Raleigh.  First Lady Kristin Cooper, wife of Governor Roy Cooper, presented the awards. This is the tenth year the Governor’s Office has awarded this accommodation, which recognizes the “best of the best.”

Caruso was nominated as Chatham County’s recipient for the NC Outstanding Volunteer Medallion.  Each county can submit one volunteer for this special honor.  There are 100 counties in North Carolina, but the NC Commission on Volunteerism & Community Service only selects 20 honorees.  This year, Caruso was among them.  Only three Chatham residents have ever received this honor.

“Volunteerism is an important part of the proud history of community service in Chatham County,” said Dina Reynolds, Executive Director of United Way of Chatham County.  “It is our honor to recognize our neighbors who truly make a difference in the lives of others.”

Chatham County Volunteer Center Coordinator Alane Coore, 2018 NC Medallion Award Recipient Pamela Caruso, Chatham County Council on Aging Volunteer Coordinator Rhonda Hampton, and Chatham County Council on Aging Community Care Manager Susan Hardy celebrate volunteerism at the 2018 Medallion Award Ceremony at the State Capitol in Raleigh.

Since 1998, United Way has coordinated the Chatham County Outstanding Volunteer Awards to recognize individuals who selflessly give their time, talent and expertise to benefit the residents our community.  Chatham County community members make up the local Volunteer Nomination Review Committee that reviews the nomination forms, selects the honorees and plans local recognition activities.  The committee also selects Chatham County’s nominees to be considered for recognition on the state level.  The United Way of Chatham County Volunteer Center coordinates this effort with the NC Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.

For more information about volunteering in Chatham County, please contact Alane Coore, United Way Volunteer Center Coordinator at 542-1110 or visit the United Way of Chatham County website at www.unitedwayofchathamcounty.org.

Posted in Communities, Events, Organization

United Way of Chatham County Honors Local Volunteers

Some of Chatham’s most dedicated volunteers were recognized for their contributions to their community. From left to right, Hilary Murray of CORA Food Pantry, Pamela Caruso of Chatham County Council on Aging, Sheriff Mike Roberson, Ruth and Dick Flannelly of Galloway Ridge, Chatham County Commissioner Chair Diana Hales, Larry Ross of Chatham County Council on Aging, United Way Volunteer Center Coordinator Alane Coore, John and Kay Combest of Galloway Ridge, Edith Hammond of Galloway Ridge and Mary Dickerson of Chatham County 4-H Club.

The United Way of Chatham County recognized several local volunteers on Thursday, May 3 for their outstanding volunteer work in the community.  Held at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center, the event hosted almost 100 people.  Sheriff Mike Roberson served as the event’s Master of Ceremonies.

Sheriff Roberson noted that Chatham residents donated 81,265 hours of volunteer service to United Way and its member agencies last year.  According to the Independent Sector, the most current hourly value of volunteer time is $24.14 per hour.  This means that local volunteers donated work hours valued at more than 1.9 million dollars.

The keynote speaker was United Way Board member and former Chatham County Commissioner Betty Wilson.  She spoke about the value of volunteerism and invited attendees to think about the powerful outcomes of making a difference, no matter how small, in someone’s life.

Chatham County Commissioner Chair Diana Hales presented the awards.  Each honoree received a framed certificate signed by all of the County Commissioners.  They also received a certificate of state recognition, which was signed by Governor Cooper.

Pamela Caruso, a volunteer of Council on Aging, received the first award.  Caruso has volunteered with the Chatham County Council on Aging for the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) for more than eight years.  She has also volunteered for the Volunteer Income Assistance Program (VITA) for over ten years.  She has dedicated over 200 hours to these programs, assisting low-income families and seniors.

“Pam is the kind of volunteer that accepts assignments that other volunteers may turn down because of the time and distance required.  She presents herself in a very professional manner and has a loving and sincere demeanor while interacting with seniors and adults with disabilities.  Pam is a truly remarkable individual who views volunteerism as a calling,” said Hales.

Kay and John Combest, volunteers of the Galloway Ridge Retirement Community, received the next award.  Kay Combest’s most active volunteer role is the Residents Welcoming Coordinator.  She works with Galloway Ridge staff to identify new residents moving into the community and coordinates the delivery of welcome baskets.  She also is the assistant manager of the Turnaround Resale Shop, where she volunteers 18 hours a month.  John Combest was a member of the first Residents Council, which was charged with drafting and writing bylaws and procedures.  He also started the original Volunteer Service Committee at Galloway Ridge to promote volunteerism among the residents.  “John is the type of person who goes quietly about his volunteering out of the goodness of his heart.  He will step forward and offer help wherever it is needed,” Hales said.

Mary Dickerson was honored for her work at Chatham County 4-H.  Dickerson has been a 4-H volunteer for ten years.  For the past year, she has served as the club leader of the Chatham County Horse-kateers.  Within that club, Mary has taught numerous youth invaluable leadership and citizenship skills in conjunction with equine-based curriculum focusing on animal husbandry and care.  When parents are unable to assist youth in the horse shows, Mary transports them, and oftentimes their horses, to competitions around the state.

“Mary is much more than a club leader to the children.  She is a valued mentor and has many times been referred to as their ‘4-H Mom.’  Mary has been a solid fixture in the lives of many club members and has been able to provide them with emotional support, a warm meal and even a place to stay when families have needed it most,” said Hales.

The next award went to Ruth and Dick Flannelly who are residents of Galloway Ridge.  Ruth is an excellent pianist and accompanies the Galloway Ridge Chorus at their weekly practices and semi-annual concerts.  She selects the music for all chorus events and dedicates several hours each week to practicing with them.

The Flannelly’s travel extensively and record their travels together.  On a weekly basis, Dick shares his travel experiences and videos with the residents in the health center.  He also puts copies of each video in the library for others to enjoy.

“One of the most appreciated gifts that Ruth and Dick offer is that they are always there to help. This remarkable couple truly epitomize the spirit of community,” Hales said.

Edith and Joe Hammond were also recognized for their selfless dedication to their community. As residents of Galloway Ridge, Edith and Joe have been actively engaged in a multitude of volunteer projects there. Edith is highly involved in the work of the Residents Council. She is also the prime organizer of the “Neighbor Helping Neighbor” program, which assists residents with various needs.  Many services are provided through this program; from transporting residents to doctor’s appointments to reading to those with limited sight.

Joe Hammond has led two popular groups at Galloway Ridge: a Men’s Non-Fiction Book Club that has more than 30 members, and a “Contemporary Religious Thought” discussion group that has more than 60 members.  Joe also volunteers with the Galloway Ridge Woodworkers Group. The woodworkers accomplish an amazing number of repair jobs for residents and staff.

“The selflessness of Joe and Edith make them ideal role models. They are civic-minded and passionately caring people,” said Hales.

The next award was presented to Hilary Murray for serving as the Volunteer Coordinator at CORA Food Pantry for ten years. Over the last decade, the number of work hours contributed by volunteers has increased from 1,500 hours per year to more than 6,500 per year.  During this time, Hilary has been instrumental in recruiting, training and recognizing volunteers.  In the last five years alone, she has trained almost 250 new volunteers through monthly orientation sessions.

“Hilary’s manner is friendly, open and soothing. She makes a lasting, positive first-impression on all who meet her. CORA wouldn’t have been able to accomplish as much as it has in the last ten years without her,” Hales said.

Last but not least, Larry Ross was recognized for his volunteer efforts at the Chatham County Council on Aging, where he has been a member of the Board of Directors since September 2014. Currently serving as Board President, Larry is an innovative leader and dedicated to the agency’s mission. Since he became involved with the Strategic Planning Team, he has worked to help the organization become more data-driven.  One example of this is his contribution in securing the support of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health for a Capstone Team of graduate students to develop the Chatham County Comprehensive Aging Plan.

“Larry brings his intellect, patience, ethics and enthusiasm to all that he does. Most importantly, he makes sure that Council on Aging decisions are made with the best interests of Chatham seniors in mind,” said Hales.

Sheriff Roberson provided closing remarks and encouraged agencies, churches and schools to submit their most active volunteers for recognition in the upcoming years.

Posted in Communities, Events

United Way Introduces New Chatham 2-1-1 System to County Employees

United Way was honored to attended the Chatham County Employee Benefits Fair on Tuesday, May 1. The annual event provides county employees the opportunity to meet with benefits providers.

United Way shared information regarding supported human service programs. Staff also presented county employees with the positive impact made through their United Way donations.

United Way also introduced Chatham’s new 2-1-1 information and referral resource. Trained specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year by simply dialing 2-1-1. They search a comprehensive database of health and human services resources to help individuals find a local nonprofit to meet their needs.

In addition, the 2-1-1 database is available online at nc211.org for those who may prefer to conduct their own search. The new Chatham 2-1-1 service is a collaborative effort of United Way and the Chatham County Health Department.

United Way Fundraising and Administrative Assistant Katie Childs greeted county employees.

Chatham County Director of Human Resources Carolyn Miller hosted a fun, yet informative, event for county employees.

Posted in Organization

Volunteers Needed for Free Over-The-Counter Medication Event in Chatham

Chatham County is helping MedAssist host a Free Pharmacy Day on Friday June 1, 2018 at the Armory in Siler City. The event provides free non-prescription medications to people who may have trouble paying on their own.  This can include things like medications for allergies, digestive issues, arthritis, and dry eyes.

30 volunteers are needed to help with set up on Thursday, May 31 from 1-4 pm, and 150 volunteers are needed to help on the day of the event, which is Friday, June 1.

Those interested in volunteering should sign up online at www.medassist.org/volunteer.

If your agency is interested in providing health screenings at the event please email Misty Moore at mmoore@medassist.org.

Posted in Agencies, Communities, Events

Chatham’s First Annual Senior Education Retreat

United Way was proud to attend the first annual Senior Education Retreat, hosted by the Chatham County Council on Aging. The event was held at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center on Wednesday, April 18. The retreat featured Keynote Speaker Dr. Nortin Hadler, Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and included 17 information sessions covering topics from healthy cooking for one, to pain management. 

Posted in Communities, Events, Organization

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