The 2012 campaign for United Way formally kicked off last week at the Ohio Building in Terre Haute.
Citizens from Clay, Sullivan, Parke, Vermillion and Vigo counties attended the kick-off breakfast as they prepare to start their annual fundraising campaign.
Kathy L. Deal serves as the campaign chair for Clay County and serves on the Wabash Valley Campaign Cabinet under the leader of Wabash Valley Campaign Chair, Claudia Tanoos.
Tyler Fischer, Brazil branch manager of Terre Haute Savings Bank, serves as a member of the United Way Board of Directors.
The Brazil Times and Clay City News will run a series of articles highlighting the support given to many Clay County agencies that reach out to the most vulnerable citizens.
"One of my goals is to bring our county together to help our own folks right here in Clay County," Deal said. "My husband, Jim, and I were born right here and we are proud that many generations of our families have lived here. Through a series of articles, I hope to encourage businesses and individuals to unite out of love and compassion with their resources to do great things here in Clay County."
United Way serves 13,098 Clay County residents. Donations made to United Way fund the Clay County Emergency Food Pantry, Clay County Senior Citizen's Center, YMCA of Clay and Vigo counties, Council on Domestic Abuse, Happiness Bag, Clay County Cooperative Benevolence Ministry, Area 7 Agency on the Aging and Disabled, Wabash Senior Citizen's Center, St. Ann Community Outreach Services of Terre Haute, United Cerebral Palsy, Family Services of the Wabash Valley, CHANCES for Indiana Youth, Boy Scouts of America (Crossroads Council), American Red Cross and Catholic Charities -- which supports several outlying food pantries throughout Clay County.
"Earlier this summer, I toured different agencies to see first-hand the great challenges facing our most vulnerable citizens," Deal said. "I saw a very enthusiastic handicapped friend of mine being helped at the Happiness Bag agency. This agency provides social and learning opportunities for many handicapped citizens of the valley, including Clay County.
"Next, I saw the huge need at both the Clay County Emergency Food Pantry and Catholic Charities, where many hungry families go for help. In both agencies, I saw several Christian friends donating their time to work at the facilities so families could receive basic needs. It was heart-wrenching to look at the empty food shelves that desperately needed to be replenished."
Deal also discussed the importance of the YMCA of Clay County and Clay County Senior Citizen's Center.
"My husband and I actively work out at our local YMCA," she said. "I have seen first-hand how families who cannot afford membership and desperately need to learn healthy living skills are having those needs met by Deb Plummer's YMCA staff. There were many children who had quality learning experiences during their summer day camp for children from low-income families.
"On the United Way Day of Action in June, 12 caring citizens stepped up this summer to paint the Clay County Senior Citizen's Center both inside and outside. I came back weeks later only to be welcomed by many grateful older citizens who appreciated this kind act. It is gratifying knowing how even a small group can make a big difference. Let's unite Clay County."