The United Way of the Ohio Valley has been bringing positive change to the Owensboro area since 1972. The organization strives to improve the lives of individuals and families by promoting access to quality education, financial stability and a healthy lifestyle.
As their name states, the organization’s primary focus is for individuals to live united. Simply put, this means forging unlikely partnerships, finding new solutions to old problems, mobilizing the best resources and inspiring others to join in the fight.
The United Way’s annual campaign is set to kick-off on August 2 with their Day of Caring. The day will begin at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast at Owensboro Christian Church. The organization’s administrators will also be on-site to address the many volunteers on hand.
Fred May, campaign chair for the local United Way, believes that this one-day event highlights the organization’s mission of ‘local people helping local people.’
May said he expects upwards of 500 volunteers to be on hand. In addition to gaining hands-on volunteer experience, it will also allow for one to gain a deeper understanding of some of the needs in the community.
The campaign runs from August to October and its primary objective is to engage volunteers with companies in addition to linking the many agencies that they represent to the various needs in the community.
The United Way of the Ohio Valley employs seven full-time employees and one part-time employee while relying on thousands of volunteers annually to assist in their endeavors.
Blaine Mathew serves as the district’s project coordinator, a position he has held for nearly two years. He admires the efforts of previous years and hopes to continue to build on their proven success.
“I think we are definitely a staple in the community,” Mathew said. “I know a lot of local agencies and programs rely on United Way dollars which come from the people here in our six-county area.”
Since re-districting in 2011, the Ohio Valley branch serves the counties of, Daviess, Hancock, McLean, Ohio, Union and Webster. Within those counties are 70 agencies that they provide funds and assistance too.
“Without donations, a lot of these agencies and programs would struggle and maybe even cease to exist,” Mathew said.
Mathew also serves as the organization’s 2-1-1 specialist, seeking to provide connections and answers to individuals in need. The 2-1-1 initiative was launched in March and has received over 460 calls since its formation.
“2-1-1 is a big deal,” Mathew said. “The biggest problem for getting care is finding out where to receive the care and finding out what you need when you go. We think the 2-1-1 really solves that.”
Individuals that need assistance with housing and shelter, utilities, food, and healthcare can dial 2-1-1 for the hotline or connect online at GreenRiver211.org. Once connected, the United Way will provide you with an agency and a point of contact to assist you with your needs.
The organization’s newest initiative is solving the local hunger crisis. Resource Development, and Marketing Director, Stephanie Bertram, with the assistance of her colleagues, is spearheading the research on this project.
“We really want to solve the hunger issue in the community,” Bertram said. “We are still trying to find out exactly what that means. We are performing research right now to determine how big the need is and what programs we can fund.”
Individuals are encouraged to visit UWOV.org or call 270-684-0668 if they wish to donate or volunteer with the organization.