provided to The Santiva Chronicle
Tom Uhler, long-time member and past Chairman of the Sanibel Captiva United Way Campaign Committee, recently spoke to the Kiwanis Club on the important work United Way does in addressing the social service needs of our community.
United Way’s annual fund drive is nearing its completion, with a goal to raise $626,000 from Sanibel & Captiva, part of a larger $11,300,000 goal for the three-county area (Lee, Glades & Hendry Counties).
Sanibel & Captiva represent an important pillar of support to United Way’s overall operation, and members of the Kiwanis Club are very engaged in supporting the United Way agency at a significant level, so they were keen to hear Uhler’s report.
The mission of United Way to provide social services and meet human needs in the larger community is closely allied with the Club’s focus on addressing the education and well-being needs of local youth.
Uhler explained how the United Way organization makes efficient use of the money it raises by keeping its focus on the specific needs of our area and by spreading its support across 90 different local partner agencies. Last year, United Way support affected 1 in 2 people in the three-county area, with over 92 percent of every dollar being placed in the community.
In his presentation, Uhler underscored the great need present it today’s population and how our local United Way organization is extending its reach to help.
With a program called United Way 211, they have made available a 24-hour Helpline people can call for referral to health and social services that can provide needed food, housing, child care and veterans services. This allows people in need to navigate a system that can be complicated and sometimes overwhelming. Last year the 211 Helpline received more than 65,000 calls, an indication of the depth of need that is out there.
Uhler concluded with a reminder that the annual United Way Campaign is in its final weeks, and public support is welcome and timely.
Kiwanis holds weekly breakfast meetings at 8 a.m. Tuesdays at The Dunes. Most meetings feature a guest speaker talking on topics of local interest and importance. Anyone interested in becoming a member is welcome to stop by.