United Way funds social challenges

Published 10:30 am Monday, January 27, 2014

Basic needs don’t stop in a community with fairly high unemployment since the recession and a mighty slow recovery from it.
The mother-ship organization in charge of keeping smaller charities able to help has simply kept doing what it does — even in a strong headwind of economic challenges.
In 2013, the United Way of West Central Mississippi raised $1.2 million to fund 24 agencies, mostly in Vicksburg, that address social challenges such as homelessness, domestic abuse, mental health issues and more. The goal set by the organization was lofty; it fell about $300,000 short. But, it doesn’t minimize what the community contributed to keep social problems at bay.
When jobs are scarce, it keeps those issues at the fore. Warren County’s jobless rate has struggled to stay below double digits since the 2008 economic collapse and subsequent recession, the brunt of which seemed like a time-release pain injection. It was 8.8 percent in November and, as is the case nationally, it doesn’t count those who’ve dropped out of the system.
January’s numbers are expected any time now. The need for active, vigorous charitable giving should remain evident when they do. Just the list of agencies should remind people what kinds of social problems remain “on the street”, so to speak:
American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club of the Mississippi Delta, Andrew Jackson Council, Boy Scouts, Cary Christian Center, Central Mississippi Prevention Services, Christian Volunteer Service, Community Council, Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi, Good Shepherd Community Center, Grace Christian Counseling Center, Haven House Family Shelter, HIV Services, Inc., Magnolia Speech School, MIDD-West, Mountain of Faith Ministries, The Salvation Army, Vicksburg Child and Parent Center, Vicksburg Family Development, Warren County Children’s Shelter, Warren County Habitat for Humanity, Warren-Yazoo Mental Health, We Care Community Services and Vicksburg YMCA.
Where the United Way’s funds come from shifts a bit from one year to the next. This past year, special gifts came in higher and the organization called small businesses who had not donated previously, which yielded an increase.
By all accounts, United Way’s eyes and ears will stay trained on the basic needs of folks who struggle to find homes, clothe and feed their children at low cost and tend to the elderly, among other things. It’s important to help them out — in any way possible.