United Way Natchez office closes

Published 12:06 am Sunday, July 12, 2015

NATCHEZ — The United Way of Greater Miss-Lou has closed its Natchez office and its executive director, Tammy Prince, is no longer a paid employee for the group.

However, Mike Gemmell, who is a United Way board member and is responsible for the annual campaign fund drive, said the agency has not closed up shop in Natchez.

“We just ran into some difficulty in meeting our obligations to the agencies we support and keeping a full-time staff and office,” he said.

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“We have not stopped functioning. We will continue the campaign out of volunteers’ offices moving forward,” Gemmell said.

United Way annual campaigns in recent years have not generated funds as they have in the past.

“A few of our major donors last year did not come through, but we are confident that those will come back to us and that a year from now we will be back to normal,” Gemmell said.

He said the board of the United Way of Greater Miss-Lou is in contact with the international United Way agency and they are providing guidance on operating a volunteer-only local agency.

“I will be chairman of the annual fund this year and will be responsible for meeting with all of the major companies in town and asking to come in and speak with their employees about the United Way payroll deduction plan,” Gemmell said. “We will be back with energy and commitment and we have a great group of volunteers. The volunteer board is very positive about the future of United Way in Natchez.”

United Way of Greater Miss-Lou helps support 13 agencies in the Natchez area, including Guardian Shelter, Catholic Charities, T.M. Jennings Youth Baseball, Falcons Youth Football, Casa (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) and the Red Cross.

Its website — liveunitedmisslou.org, to which the national United Way website refers for the Natchez-based agency — has been suspended.

The United Way’s annual jambalaya cook off, typically held in late August, has been cancelled.

Natchez Mayor Butch Brown, contacted Saturday morning, said, “I haven’t heard a word about this. Normally, we would be notified.”

Prince did not immediately return phone messages left her Saturday for comment.