I’m a big believer in the benefit of the local chambers of commerce and I believe that they are a giant asset if you utilize them. Our community involvement depends strongly on opportunity to network in each area. Many of them give us the opportunity to present a little bit about the United Way and how we can help people in their/our community. From north to south in the WV panhandle and west into Ohio, the United Way covers six counties.
When I first started this position, I quickly learned that most of our coverage area outside of Ohio County incorrectly thought that United Way was only operational to community members in Wheeling. Therefore very early in my career, I made it a goal for us to be physically active in each community that we support. My main avenue to get involved has been through the local chambers.
The Saint Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce gives me an opportunity to present in front of community members and business owners at least once a month at their Coffee and Connections breakfasts. They also have luncheons and business after hours that we find value in attending.
Because of them and my involvement with the Saint Clairsville Rotary, I became a part of that community and so did the United Way.
I recently attended two great networking events with a Wheeling Chamber luncheon with over 400 people and a Marshall County Chamber Ladies luncheon where I served as the master of ceremonies. We also visit the Barnesville chamber luncheons each month which is a wonderful and welcoming community.
The breakfasts that the Wetzel County and Tyler County Chamber of Commerce have been hosting have not only taken me on a tour of some amazing little breakfast spots, but it has also given me an opportunity to talk about the United Way to a population who may not realize that help is available to them.
The value at those type of events goes far beyond the opportunity to talk about what the United Way is up to.
Chamber gatherings are a place for communities to come together and that’s what makes the Ohio Valley special. Meeting people in their community is invaluable and I never leave an event like this without a new contact or a referral for 211.
Many people tend to struggle financially and try to fight through that struggle on their own. There are so many resources available in the northern panhandle of West Virginia that are available to all the community members and also those in Belmont County, Ohio.
When I visit other communities, I’ve been focusing on talking about 211.
It’s a United Way funded referral hotline for anyone with social services questions or needs.
While a big part of my career is fundraising, another big part of my career that I love embracing is spreading the word about services. There is help and if people are struggling financially or otherwise, there is a social service organization that can help.
If you’re interested in joining your local chamber, you can find the ones I mentioned below.
Should we be involved in your community? What does the United Way Community Involvement look like in Wetzel, Tyler, Marshall, Brooke, Ohio and Belmont County Ohio? Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unitedwayuov