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Letter to the Editor

Letter: United Neighbors Needs Volunteers


For half of a century, United Neighbors has maintained an unblemished record of assisting our local neighbors in need.

Whether it is for food, clothing, electric bills, or other basic needs, United Neighbors has reached out to assist our community friends in crisis.

In 2017, United Neighbors was hit with a devastating financial blow. Norandal in Huntingdon was sold. The reason this was so critical was they were a major contributor to Carroll County division of United Way, who was, in turn, a major supporter of United Neighbors.

While the plant operated there was a program in place where employees were giving directly from their paychecks. That source of funds stopped and those employees no longer donated to United Way.

The closing also increased the number of people who were potentially in need. The problem continued when the successor industry did not participate in the paycheck plan. This, of course, caused a major drop in united Way’s funding in Carroll County and also in united Neighbors.

Prior to Norandal’s sale, United Neighbors received approximately $20,000 a year for operational funds. Last year, they were cut to $4,900. This year, they were increased to $9,800, still a revenue loss of $10,200 per year from the original funding amount.

Budget adjustments left only two employees to manage all the daily business, where they stock, receive donations, wait on customers, clean the building, and run the office. To handle that work load with only two people is a herculean task.

This past year, due to support from the Baptist Church, the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the U.S.A. Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, a fundraiser by the McKenzie Banner, and donations from local individuals, they have survived, but continue to face an intolerable work load.

Thus, the reason for this letter…

United Neighbors needs community volunteers to fill the void left by the decrease in funding.

To understand the scope of what United Neighbors means to this community, let me point out that in the last 12 months, United Neighbors has served 586 families and 1,321 individuals and also conducted 4 “Blessing Box” give-a-ways, which has served another 1,000 families.

Over time, it is practically impossible to calculate the positive impact that United Neighbors has had on the lives of our citizens.

If we look at even a very conservative figure of 900 people helped each year, over the last 50 year period, that would be a total of 45,000 individuals who received a helping hand in their time of need.

Recognizing the value of United Neighbors to the fabric of our community over the past 50 years, the Rotary - Fannye Baxter Moore Fund has contributed generously to assist United Neighbors in their mission; however, our funds are limited and for United Neighbors to continue to grow and serve even more, community volunteerism is desperately needed. Even a few hours per week would help.

The number to contact Saudia Akin, Director, at work is 352-0547. The home number is 415-9474.

The motivation for all of us to continue generously donating our time and money to United Neighbors is crystal clear…

“As ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”


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