Darke County United Way receives award from Ohio Senate


DARKE COUNTY — The Darke County United Way received an award from the Ohio Senate, honoring them for giving outstanding service to the community.

Executive Director Christy Baker said this is the first time in the three years she has been working at the United Way they’ve received an award like this. No one had applied for anything or been contacted about receiving the award.

“It showed up out of the blue,” she said. “It was a pleasant surprise.”

She said she was really appreciative for the recognition of the work being done throughout Darke County. The organizations and programs partnering with the United Way are the ones making conditions and life’s better for the people in the area.

“Our United Way works really hard at bringing the non profits together in the community to work towards tough issues,” she said.

Funding for many programs in the community assisting individuals in need are from the United Way. However, they cannot get these funds without donations and fundraising efforts.

Since Darke County has a smaller office, they are not able to go out and directly work with the people in need, said Baker. She said their greatest function is to raise funds for the programs and organizations. Last year they brought in a total of $660,00, but it is not enough.

“Currently, we are providing them half of what they need to run their programs. The need for those agencies is well over one million dollars to provide services for those folks day in and day out.”

Baker said they are not really where they want to be to help the agencies. They are looking for more effective ways to increase funds such as more campaigning, connecting with more agencies and bringing them together with people who need them.

Around 25 non-profit programs partnered with the United Way, meaning they were able to get help to operate their programs. Most of the programs fall under one the United Way’s core categories they focus on: education, health and stability.

Literacy is an important component for the United Way. They fund programs that help with college preparation and post secondary courses.

“We recognize education is the basis for successful, productive adults,” said Baker.

Health problems immobilize and cause individuals to lose wages needed to sustain a successful life. Programs for mental health and cancer are a few of several using United Way for funding. Stability falls under those who are homeless, can’t pay utilities, or have nothing to eat.

She gave an example of someone having enough to pay for their medicine but nothing left for food. United Way funds these programs so people can find shelter and food, among other necessities.

The United Way’s mission statement says: We fight for the health, education and stability of every person in our community. They continue to do this everyday, Baker said.

“We want to see folks be happy, healthy, and successful.”

By Mary Jones

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