by Shawn Gainer
The Harrison County United Way's 2000-2001 Campaign officially kicked off with a promising start at Clarksburg City Park Sunday afternoon.
While organizers said the event was intended to be fun, with musical entertainment, a bikers' show and concessions, they also noted United Way supports the activities of 22 social service agencies in Harrison County.
"It's for us. It's for everybody in Harrison County," said Robert Tolley, president of the United Way Board of Directors. "We have volunteers to thank from all walks of life and every age."
Bruce Carter, campaign chairman of United Hospital Center, accepted checks from three "pace setters"-- organizations that begin fund-raising in advance of the Day in the Park. Pace setter presentations included $6,658 from United Parcel Service, employees and members of Teamsters Local 789; $2,400 from employees of Nationwide Insurance and $60,106 from employees of Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Services, Inc.
While the total fund-raising goal for the campaign is $735,000, the $222,551 raised so far amounts to a good start. Carter added that many businesses in the city were contributors to the preliminary fund raising.
"We normally like to start with 20 percent of our goal at the kickoff, and we're just a little over 30 percent. A lot of people worked really hard to put this together," Carter said. "These are tremendous gifts that go to a good cause, but the important thing is that we still have a lot of money to raise over the next eight weeks."
Volunteers and staff of county organizations that receive United Way funding said the assistance is invaluable.
"We do a lot of our own fundraising, but the United Way helps keep us steady," said Captain Ed Long of the Salvation Army, which provides many services including a food pantry, a mobile canteen for disaster relief and assistance with rent, utilities and medical expenses.
A new recipient of United Way funds will be Family Senior Services Care of North Central West Virginia, which operates the only licensed adult medical day care in Harrison County.
"We're here to help United Way because it helps us help the elderly," said Barbara Clutter, R.N., director of Senior Care. "The United Way money will be used to help people in their homes with tasks like cooking and house cleaning."
Melissa Phillips, president of the Criss Cross, Inc. board of directors, said she has been involved in the United Way for about 20 years, in part because it provides a useful link for social service agencies.
"This is the most efficient way to manage community services," Philips said. "It creates a family of social service agencies that come together for the good of the community."
Local agencies that receive United Way funding are: Boy Scout Council, Red Cross, ARC of Harrison County, Bi-County Nutrition, BIG BROTHERS/BIG SISTERS, Girl Scout Council, CASA -- Court Appointed Special Advocates program, Criss-Cross, Family Services, 4-H Camp scholarship program, Sheltered Workshop, and the YMCA.
Also, Health Access, Hope Task Force on Domestic Violence, Kids on the Block, Literacy Volunteers, Peoples' Hospice, Rainbow House, Salvation Army, Scott Place Homeless Shelter, Senior Care of North Central W.Va., and the YWCA receive funding.
Staff Writer Shawn Gainer can be reached at 626-1442 or by e-mail at email@example.com