Over 200 people attended the United Way of Lamar County’s Annual Breakfast Meeting on Wednesday morning at the Love Civic Center.
The event which recognizes the previous year’s outstanding workplace campaigns and volunteers is usually held in February but had been postponed several times due to the pandemic.
At the start of the meeting, United Way Executive Director Jenny Wilson explained how much the United Way had changed within the past 18 months.
“The last time we all met was in February of 2020 just before the world changed,” she said. “Since then, the United Way has changed our mission from being primarily a fundraiser to directly assisting those in need. We exist to be whatever this community needs us to be and to serve those most in need.”
Wilson said one way the organization has moved from fundraising to helping is through its rent and utility assistance programs, which distributed more than $70,000 in assistance in 2020 and almost $100,000 to more than 350 families in 2021 so far.
She also said the United Way has expanded its educational programs and will continue to be committed to funding and collaborating with partner agencies to help the community.
The awards ceremony began with recognition of the three former Board of Directors, Trey Glascock, Robin Kennedy and Neta Painter, who rolled off the board in the beginning of the year
Next, the top workplace campaigns were recognized including Platinum Level Givers ($40,000+) Turner Industries, Campbell Soup, HWH, Paris Regional Medical Center; Gold Level Givers ($20,000+) Liberty National Bank, First Federal Community Bank, Lamar National Bank, Paris ISD, RK Hall Construction, and Kimberly-Clark; Silver Level Givers ($10,000+) North Lamar ISD; and Bronze Level Givers ($5,000+) Toyota of Paris, Blossom Machine, Huhtamaki, Lamar County, City of Paris, Richard Drake Construction, Peoples Bank, and Paris Junior College.
The Campaign Cabinet volunteers that ran these workplace campaigns were also recognized including Jane Adams, Julia Trigg Crawford, Randy Tuttle, Kandace Davidson, Cindy Ringwald, Lauren Wilson, Chance Abbott, Jennifer Ray, Jerrika Liggins, Angela Chadwick, Carla Coleman, Lauren Teague, James Hall, Laurie Redus, Clint Cheatwood, Brenda Wells, Jason Exum, Melissa Gordon, Trey Glascock and Kenneth Webb.
Wilson thanked Atmos Energy for underwriting the United Way’s new mini library and mini food pantry programs and also thanked the dozens of small businesses and individuals who combined give over $100,000 annually to the campaign.
The Partner Agency Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Silas Goforth for his service at the Downtown Food Pantry.
This year’s Lifetime Community Service Leadership awards were given posthumously to Philip Cecil and Pat Cochran. Mary Clark presented the awards and detailed the significant contributions each made to Lamar County during their lifetimes. Carl Cecil and Dr. Ernie Cochran accepted the awards to a standing ovation.
The United Way of Lamar County is currently running its Fall Campaign for 2022 funding with a $550,000 goal. The campaign runs through mid-November and those interested in donating can mail donations to PO Box 1, Paris TX 75461 or donate online at www.lamarcountyuw.org.