CHICKASAW COUNTY – Nobody knows the needs of Chickasaw County better than the people who live in Chickasaw County
United Way provided $116,302 of assistance to 32 agencies serving people from Chickasaw County last year and those agencies have requested roughly $159,850 this year.
And the people who will make those two different numbers meet gathered last week to handle the hard job to allocating United Way funds.
“It’s a tough job, but a very important one,” said Perry Grubbs, Executive Director of the Okolona Chamber of Commerce and a member of the United Way of Chickasaw County Funds Distribution Committee. “I have learned a lot about each agency that has come before us. They really do a great job for Chickasaw county.”
Grubbs said balancing funding with services to the community is a job each allocation committee member takes very seriously.
“We all know people who are helped by United Way agencies,” said Grubbs. “We also know the businesses and industry that contribute to United Way. We want to be good stewards of that money.
Shelia McCool, United Way of Northeast Mississippi Director of Finance, said it is no secret that donations are down and needs are up.
“Our main source of income is payroll deductions and the headcount is down in a lot of our factories and businesses,” said McCool. “This is a trend we are having to address. Sadly, that means less funding for key agencies across Northeast Mississippi.”
The Chickasaw County Funds Distribution Committee met last week to begin the process of deciding the level of funding agencies will get.
“The Funds Distribution Committee is one of the key components of United Way,” said McCool. “These are people from your community who know the local need, they know these agencies and they decide where the dollars go.”
McCool pointed out United Way donations raised in Chickasaw County are dispersed by the committee to the 32 agencies making requests.
She said only 1 percent of United Way donations go to administration and the rest is dispersed to local agencies.
Agencies on this year’s list are; American Red Cross, Autism Center of Tupelo, CATCH Kids, COPES – CDF Charities Inc., EXCEL Inc., Faith Haven, Family Resource Center of NEMS, Gardner-Simons Home for Girls, Girls Scouts, Habitat for Humanity of Houston, Harden House, Hope Family Ministries, LIFE of Mississippi, Mission Okolona Food Pantry, NCADD, NMMC Camp Breathe EZZZE, NMMC Cancer Patient Fund, NMMC Diabetes Assistance Fund, NMMC Heart Patient Assistance Fund, NMMC Hospice Patient Assistance Fund, NMMC Social Work Patient Fund, North MS Kidney Foundation, Okolona Dollars for Scholars, Parkgate Pregnancy Clinic, Regional Rehabilitation Center, S.A.F.E., Sally Kate Winters Family Services, Salvation Army of Chickasaw County, Special Ed Bowling League, Survival Inc., Weston Reed Foundation and Women First.
The United Way 2012 Fundraising Campaign closed in January and the Distribution Committee will meet again in February to make final disbursements of funds.
The deadline to request funds from United Way of Chickasaw County was Nov. 1.
There are 18 Chickasaw County residents on the local fund disbursement committee.
Members of the 2014 Chickasaw Funds Distribution Committee are: Tiffany Bean, Birdie Burdine, Hank Franklin, Talitha Hudson, Gene Childs, Floyd Ingram, Shenia Jones, Steve Shultz, Terri Turner, Barbara Buggs, Donna Chrestman, Perry Grubbs, Scott Shempert, Debbie Harmon, Tom Byrne, Joyce East, Betty Holder and Frank Pemper.
“We are always looking for volunteers to serve on the disbursement committee,” said Richardson. “It’s as simple as calling us or stopping by our office and saying you want to volunteer.”