United Way fundraiser aiming at $100K

Published 9:08 pm Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Brookhaven Outreach Ministries helps the community’s less-fortunate in several ways — they run a food pantry, a thrift store, hold back-to-school workshops, give out winter clothing and blankets in late fall, and turkeys and hams for Thanksgiving.

But who helps Brookhaven Outreach Ministries?

“The United Way of Lincoln County has been instrumental to us in helping the people in our local community,” said the Rev. Jerry Durr, ministries president. “We help around 3,000 families a year, and the United Way is tremendous in helping us meet our goals.”

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Durr said he’s hoping for a big response to the United Way’s Fiscal Year 2019 fundraising drive, which kicked off Aug. 1 with a goal of raising $100,000 by Sept. 30, 2019, to be shared with a dozen Brookhaven-area charities.

United Way of Lincoln County President Katie Nations said volunteers from the group have already pitched a plea for support to Brookhaven School District employees, and county schools are on the list — as is King’s Daughters Medical Center, the local banks, car dealerships, major industries and retail businesses.

“Our mindset is not for a few people to give a lot, but for a lot of people to give a little,” Nations said. “If you’re looking for a way to give back to your community, through service or through giving, the United Way of Lincoln County could be the perfect fit for you.”

The United Way seeks small donations through a set-it-and-forget-it mechanism — payroll deductions.

The group works with employers to set up payroll deductions from willing employees in small amounts, like $2.50 or $5, and when several businesses sign up groups of contributors, that little bit of snack money adds up to real cash in a hurry. All donations to the United Way are tax-deductible.

Board chairman Rob McCreary said 95 percent of the organization’s money stays in Lincoln County, with a nickel out of every dollar raised sent to the national organization to cover membership dues. The group does not work directly with the public, but instead supports a dozen local organizations that meet different areas of need in the community, with a focus on education and health and wellness.

Those organizations are the Boy Scouts, Brookhaven Little Theatre, Brookhaven Recreation Department, the Doll’s House, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Club of Lincoln County, Brookhaven Outreach Ministries, Lincoln County Emergency Relief, Brookhaven Beautiful, Habitat for Humanity, peewee football and the Salvation Army.

Groups that work directly with individuals in need get the bulk of donations, and the list of partner agencies changes from year to year based on need.

“We screen all the charities. They have to present to us how they’re going to use the money, what they’re going to use it for, and from there we determine how much we’re giving to each group,” McCreary said. “

The organization’s $100,000 goal is a big increase over last year, when United Way contributions topped out at $70,000. The group is aiming to push harder on its presentations for payroll deductions, and encourages any charity-minded businesses to call 601-833-1411 to request a presentation.

“Whether there’s two employees or two hundred, I’d love to come talk about the United Way,” McCreary said.

The United Way also accepts one-time donations and in-lieu-of contributions, and can help point volunteers to the right local charities in need of manpower.