07/29/04 — United Way sends leaders on a mission

View Archive

United Way sends leaders on a mission

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on July 29, 2004 1:59 PM

The people that United Way is hoping will lead off this year's fund-raising campaign got to see what it's like to be a part of one of the organization's many charities.

Donnie Barnes, this year's United Way campaign chairman, said the purpose of having the "Front Runners" deliver Meals on Wheels was to give them a better understanding of how money raised by United Way is spent so they'll be more likely to give.

Front Runners are businesses and organizations that raise money before the general campaign starts, to set the pace for the other givers. United Way of Wayne County began its first Front Runners campaign Wednesday at WAGES in Goldsboro.

This year's Front Runners are the Goldsboro News-Argus, Wayne Community College and Cooper-Standard Automotive. Fifteen employees from the three organizations delivered Meals on Wheels and attended an information session.

After delivering the meals, they returned to WAGES for a luncheon where they were told about the Front Runners program and given materials to hold their employee campaigns.

Campaigns must be finished no later than Aug. 29 and results will be announced at the annual Taste of Wayne County Aug. 31.

Jim Wall, personnel manager for Cooper-Standard Automotive, and co-worker Diane Andrews, assistant personnel manager, delivered 13 meals.

"We met a lot of really interesting people and heard a lot of stories," Wall said. "One lady we met was so proud of her family. She introduced us to her entire family through pictures. We met three generations of her family. It was great."

He said the experience has helped him realize more where United Way dollars go and how they help. "My wish would be that everybody could do this. Once you do it, you certainly feel glad and you want to give, because you know it's going to help a person here in our community."

One recipient was 97-year-old Minnie Lewis, who was able to get around her home with the help of a walker. She said that on her small salary, it means so much to her to have a meal delivered to her home.

"If not for Meals on Wheels, sometimes I would not have anything at all to eat all day," she said. She has been receiving meals for 10 years.

"Meals on Wheels is a great program," said Barnes, the campaign chairman. "It provides a hot meal to people who maybe otherwise wouldn't get a hot meal during the day.

"In some client's cases, it's the difference in being able to live alone and not being able to live alone, staying in their home or having to go somewhere else to live."

He said it not only helps the clients but also their family members. "Maybe they have family members who live out of town and can't come and help them every day," Barnes said.

He said United Way hopes that the Front Runners will have increases in last year's campaigns and set a high standard that the rest of the community can follow. "We hope it's going to get the campaign off on the right foot."