United Way Of Jackson & George Couties Wraps Up Campaign

Donna Powell spent her Friday boxing up plastic dinnerware for local restaurants. It's one of the many things they do at Singing River Industries, an organization made especially for people with mental and physical challenges.

"People have hopes and wishes and dreams and desires, and we work hard to match that with something in the community," Singing River Industries Director Lisa Burck said. "It could be an hour a week, could be 40 hours a week."

Singing River Industries has been a part of United Way for almost 30 years. Officials say about 20 percent of the agency's funds comes from United Way.

"United Way funds have made it possible to keep staff in place with rising insurance costs, and other fringe benefits," she said. "Most of the funding that we have has caps on it, and so United Way has been able to step in."

This year's United Way campaign was a little unusual. Instead of having a goal for the entire community, each business set their own goal. Organizers say that decision was based on the recent plant closings in Jackson County and the terrorists attacks.

"We have had to stress that's it's important to help our friends and neighbors in New York and Washington, but we can't ignore the needs at home," Jackson and George County United Way Director Elaine Kerr said.

Community support helped the United Way exceed its million-dollar goal by almost $300,000. Organizers say it's money that is definitely needed.

"It's tremendously important," campaign chairperson Jolly McCarty said. "What you're talking about is providing funding for 25 worthwhile agencies."

By Myya Durden

Online Producer: Glenn Cummins