What matters in the Miss-Lou?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 17, 2008

The slogan of the United Way is “What Matters.” It can be interpreted as both a question and a statement. In either case, it refers to the needs of our community and how we respond to those needs.

The mission of the United Way of the Greater Miss-Lou is to marshal the resources of our community — financial support plus volunteer time and talents — to lift up and strengthen the most vulnerable residents of Adams County and Concordia Parish. Beginning Thursday with a jambalaya cook-off at the convention center, we will embark on a campaign to raise $150,000. As executive director, my job is to call on local businesses, organizations and individuals to help us meet our goal. I will be assisted by Campaign Manager Jimmy Hibbs, United Way board members and dozens of hard-working volunteers and community leaders.

The community contributions will fund local programs such as Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, 4-H Clubs, little league, shelters for abused children and families, the Natchez-Adams County and Concordia Parish Councils on Aging, and organizations providing basic services for those in need: food, clothing shelter, health care and security. Donors can designate their contributions to be used where needed most or to fund a specific United Way-supported agency or any nonprofit organization.

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The organizations seeking United Way funding provide reports describing what segment of the community is served by each program and summarizing how the United Way funds will be used, plus follow up reports showing actual results. At the conclusion of the campaign, a committee of community volunteers will review the agencies’ requests for funding and determine the distribution of funds to each agency.

Campaign manager Jimmy Hibbs said “If everyone in the Miss-Lou would contribute just $10, we would more than exceed our goal!”

We know that not every resident can afford $10. We also know that in today’s economic climate, we face challenges in fundraising. What matters is that those of us who can contribute do so as generously as we can. Contributions to the 2007 campaign range from an individual donation of $1 to a mighty effort by the Natchez-Adams School District whose employees gave over $32,000. Those statistics are proof that every contribution counts.

Please give generously of your time, talent and money to support the United Way campaign. By doing so, you will help to support and strengthen families, promote economic independence and self-sufficiency, and provide support and services for our neighbors in need and at risk. That’s “What Matters.”

For contribution forms and info on group campaigns and volunteer opportunities, call 601-442-1081.

Marsha Colson is the director of the United Way of the Miss-Lou.