United Bank kicked off its campaign Monday, Dec. 5 for the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley not only with a corporate donation, but also by offering employees the opportunity to make personal contributions.
Nathan McKeen, branch manager at 21-12th St., Wheeling, presented George Smoulder, United Way executive director, with the United Bank contribution of $3,500.
McKeen told the gathering of bank employees that their contributions “will make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.”
He said the United Bank has had a tradition of helping in the community, and cited the employees’ work during the United Way’s Sandy O’Haver Day of Caring at the Wheeling YMCA. He also noted the strong support for the bank’s food drive, Neighbor Helping Neighbor.
Smoulder thanked the group on behalf of the 31 United Way member agencies and the clients they serve.
“Different individuals and families have different needs at different times in their lives,” Smoulder said. “And remember, 99 cents of each dollar donated stays here in the Upper Ohio Valley. You can designate a United Way agency to receive your donation, or you can designate an agency not affiliated with us, as long as it is a 501-C3.”
Smoulder introduced Kathie Brown, executive director of Wheeling Health Right, who told the employees of the services the free clinic provides to those with low income, who are uninsured, or underinsured.
She said the clinic has been helping those who have found that they cannot pay the deductibles they are facing through insurance policies purchased through the ACA marketplace. Brown also noted that many persons will be experiencing rising health insurance rates as of Jan. 1.
Wheeling Health Right also is now offering free dental care, and in the first eight weeks of the dental clinic’s opening, 88 patients have received care.
“We’re making a huge difference and you are making a huge difference with the money you donate,” she added. “It’s a hand up, not a hand out.”
Smoulder also introduced Debra Hawkins, the new executive director of Harmony House.
“Your dollars help my agency provide forensic interviews for children believed to be victims of abuse and neglect, and for adults with developmental disabilities,” she said. “We have offices in Wheeling and Belmont County. In 2015 we served 531 children. Last year we had 11 convictions in Belmont County and 11 in Wheeling.”
Hawkins noted that the agency also provides help for “secondary victims” in abuse cases, which allows the family to heal.
“That’s what your dollars do,” she said. “They help the most vulnerable to get the help they need for healing.”
Tony Gentile, United Bank market president, said in his 20 years with the company, United Bank has supported the United Way and all its agencies.
“We’ve done campaign kickoffs, Pacesetters, and in each of those 20 years it amazes me to think of all the lives you have touched with your giving to the United Way.”
The 2016-2017 United Way Campaign goal is $810,000, with the total thus far at 40 percent.