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Contributions to the United Way of Garrett County annual campaign currently total $35,000 toward the $70,000 goal. The organization provides dollars to human service programs in the community.

United Way leverages donations by advocating for collaboration to reduce duplication and relies on community partnerships to focus on the most pressing needs. Additionally, the organization’s collective volunteer time equates to a contribution of over $225,000 annually to provide maximum regional impact.

County United Way Executive Director Juli McCoy notes that the organization has not been immune to the sudden, and unexpected changes that took place in 2019. Contributions from longtime partner Verso ceased immediately with their announcement, and additional unknowns with other companies continue to linger due to out-of-the-area corporate decisions. Garrett County contributors were affected by these changes and funds were lost as a result. “The reality of where the overall campaign currently sits is that vital programs and services will immediately have less availability for those in need and in some cases, will cease to exist. This also creates a very discouraging outlook for emerging programs that show promise of creating a major impact.”

During the current fiscal year, over $25,000 has been invested in Garrett County through programs focused on education, financial stability and health. Included is safe and reliable care for area children that provide nutritious meals, peer-to-peer interaction and adult mentors, as well as tutoring. A longtime partner with Garrett County Community Action, United Way has helped the organization maintain its Meals on Wheels program ensuring local seniors have a healthy meal each day. A program to help with prescription medications provides stability with life-saving medications to give flexibility with limited incomes for food and other basic needs. Volunteers responsible for making funding decisions have been longtime advocates of the power of mentoring at-risk children, and providing safe and reliable care for children of working households.

United Way partnerships extend to the Boy Scouts, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Pressley Ridge, Garrett Mentors, Habitat for Humanity and Western Maryland Food Bank. Additionally, United Way’s growing relationships with area businesses has established a unique pathway to other goods and services for nonprofit organizations.

The community is urged to consider a donation of any size that will put United Way closer to its goals. This can be done by mailing a check to PO Box 394, Oakland, MD 21550 using the online giving option at www.cuw.org, or contacting the office at 301-722-2700 to set up a recurring gift. McCoy noted that this is the easiest way to establish an ongoing investment in the organization. “A major source of our contributions come through payroll deductions, which operates in a similar way and creates an opportunity to make a gift most wouldn’t consider in one payment. The United Way staff is 100% invested through payroll deduction.” Donors are reminded that their gift is used as they would like and should provide a memo or note indicating to which county they would like their gift directed.

“We have all been witness to the generosity that exists here. In times of need, we come together and help strangers, because of an unexpected tragedy or simply a basic, human need. This is what we need now – for our community to come together and help us continue to address the issues holding so many back from a bright future or to just overcome a barrier.”