United Way agencies work to improve county

Published 12:24 pm Saturday, November 17, 2007

By Staff
Fundraising campaign has goal of $375,000
By DAN PARSONS, Staff Writer
A group of some of Beaufort County’s most generous and selfless people gathered for lunch on the south side of the Pamlico River on Friday to discuss how they can collectively make the county a better place to live.
Caring is what the 19 agencies represented at Camp Hardee in Blounts Creek on Friday are all about, according to Atwater. Down to the county’s Chinese population, each — with the help of United Way — offers unique services to a portion of the county’s needy population. Together, they provide nearly every sector of the county’s population with aid and support those sectors may need.
Many of the services the agencies provide overlap, creating a web of social work that covers the county. Delores Cannon works for Aurora-based Southside Alliance for Neighborhood Empowerment, an agency that builds a refurbishes houses for poor people. The agency has, to date, brought at least five houses up to existing building codes and invested $40,000 in each house, she said.
Cannon said her agency also makes numerous referrals to Eagle’s Wings, represented Friday by Debbie Adams. Eagle’s Wings is food bank based in Washington. It provides food and financial help to needy residents in the Washington area.
Harlan MacKendrick serves as a volunteer at the Zion Shelter, which provides food and a place to sleep for homeless men.
Sandra Buckman, representing Arc of Beaufort County, which provides services and programs to the county’s “developmentally disadvantaged” residents. Bishop Samuel Jones and Mother Regina Jones run the Purpose of God Outreach Annex on East Sixth Street in Washington. Their ministry provides a refuge for at-risk youth and opportunities to learn for young people who have been expelled from the county school system. They also work with local businesses to provide jobs for convicted felons. Frank Belote, through Habitat for Humanity, helps build houses for families otherwise unable to buy or build houses.
Beaufort County natives are not the only people served by the agencies. Deborah Cook, representing Literacy Volunteers of Beaufort County, helps immigrants learn English.
Each of the United Way agencies is primarily funded through donations collected by United Way. The county United Way chapter is in the middle of its fundraising campaign. It wants to raise $375,000 during this campaign. So far, the chapter has raised 12 percent of that goal, according to Atwater.