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United Way hoping for busy month

The United Way of Lincoln County is preparing for the month ofDecember, its strongest month for taking up donations, after alater-than-normal start this year. Thus far, the organization hasaccumulated $27,000 of its $200,000 goal.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield is expecting that number to rise as theholiday month rolls around.

“The vast majority of our pledges come in December,” he said.”We’re starting to get more donations in. We’ve had some strongdonations from some of our local industries.”

The United Way is off to a late start this year because of aninternal reorganization.

Bank of Brookhaven President and United Way Chairman Bill Sonessaid the organization will try to get the bulk of the donations inby Christmas, though the donation drive lasts until the end of theyear. He attributed the United Way’s recent, tough times to thelingering effects of Hurricane Katrina.

“In the aftermath of Katrina, the United Way has suffered here,”Sones said. “All charitable organizations in the South havesuffered. Disasters like that seem to have a negative impact ongiving.”

With at least 30 local charities dependent on the United Way,the club is asking for all workers in the county to participate inthe Fair Share Plan. The plan is a method of payroll deduction thatcalls for county residents to donate one hour of their pay permonth to the United Way.

“We’re calling on all the businesses in our county to have 100percent of their employees give to the United Way,” Sones said. “Wewould also like for those employers to offer a matching gift.”

Sones said that almost 100 percent of the money donated to theUnited Way stays within the county, and 94 percent of the total isgiven directly to local charities.

“The United Way is about a lot of people giving a little on aregular basis for the good of all,” he said. “We really owe oursupport to these local charities.”

Anyone interested in making a donation to the United Way maycontact the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce at (601)833-1411.