For 65 years now, the United Way of Florence County has been working tirelessly to serve the residents of Florence County and the needs they might have.

We believe that the best way to address those needs is to partner with 18 local nonprofit agencies to provide services and resources in the education, emergency services, financial stability, health, special needs and youth impact areas. The programs and partner agencies that we are funding this year include:

Disaster relief with the American Red Cross-Eastern SC Chapter.

Florence County club sites with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Pee Dee Area.

Counseling services with the CARE House of the Pee Dee.

Patient support with Children’s Cancer Partners of the Carolinas.

Nutrition and fitness support at the Chrysalis Center of Circle Park.

Cadet programs with the Civil Air Patrol.

Adult literacy programs with the Florence Area Literacy Council.

Family support services with the Florence County Disabilities & Special Needs Board.

Financial support for childcare and the Safety Around Water program with the Florence Family YMCA.

Positive youth development programs with the Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina.

Ministry service aid and the RAMP Program with Lighthouse Ministries.

Medical and dental services with Mercy Medicine Free Clinic.

Character education programs with the Pee Dee Area Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Community victim assistance, emergency safe shelter and Durant Children’s Center services with the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault.

Audiology and Speech-Pathology Services with the Pee Dee Speech & Hearing Center.

Emergency services and the Emergency Homeless Shelter with The Salvation Army.

Home delivered meals and group dining with the Senior Citizens Association in Florence County.

Youth support with the Youth Mentors of the Pee Dee.

In order to provide the funds that help make all of these available to our community, the UWFC focuses most of our attention on holding a successful fundraising campaign. Ordinarily, if you wanted to support all of the programs listed above, you would have to make 18 separate donations. By making one donation to our agency, your donation can be combined with all of the other donations we receive to make a much greater impact than you could by donating individually.

Last year, our efforts allowed us to raise more than $882,000 in funds for these agencies, and our hope this year is to raise even more for our 2019-2020 “Share A Little Aloha” campaign this year.

Along with funding efforts, we also manage several programs out of our office. One of our newest programs is the United Way 211. 211 is a collection of all of the nonprofits, services and resources available in our area in one location. Individuals in need can access this database by dialing the number 2-1-1, and they can talk to a live 211 specialist who can help connect the individual to the resource that would best address their need. 211 is free to use for all residents, the communications are 100% confidential and access is available 24/7.

One of our biggest hopes is that you will never be in a situation where you need to contact us or any of our partner agencies for our impact area services. However, the only constant in life is that it changes, so you never know when you, or somebody you know, might be in need of assistance. If that day does come, we want to make sure you know where to go to get the best help.

To help make the public better aware of what is available in Florence County, each one of our partner agencies will be submitting an article about their agency and what services they offer. These articles will run in the Opinion section of the Thursday edition of the Morning News each week for 18 weeks, starting next Thursday, Dec. 5. We encourage you to check out those articles to not only be prepared in the future if you need it, but to also learn more about all of the work we and our partner agencies are doing in our community.

If you would like to contribute to our 2019-2020 campaign and help us to continue to provide these much-needed services to those in our community, you can visit uwflorence.org/give or text “FLORENCE” to 565-12 from your phone. You can also send in our pledge card that is included on the back of the Sunday edition’s TV Guide, or you can come visit our table at the Giving Tuesday Pee Dee Donation Station and Open House on Tuesday.

No matter which way you decide to give, and no matter how much you decide to give, know that you are helping us do great things in Florence County.

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Kevin Russell is the United Way of Florence County president.

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