As the Montgomery City Area United Way Annual Meeting on Jan. 23 was about to come to a close, Jeff Miller of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri got out of his seat and thanked all of the area …
As the Montgomery City Area United Way Annual Meeting on Jan. 23 was about to come to a close, Jeff Miller of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri got out of his seat and thanked all of the area agencies for their huge contributions to the community.
“This isn’t an individual thing,” Miller said. “We have to have everybody to make this work. It’s a coalition of everything.”
The meeting, which was held at the Montgomery City Public Library community room, had a total of 11 agencies in attendance, plus the United Way board members.
Jon Althauser joined Miller to represent LSEM. The other attendees were Montgomery County Senior Center Director Jill Burch, R-II school nurse Carla Parker, Dianne Talley of St. Vincent de Paul, Jim Ohrberg of Montgomery County Cares, Heather Quevreaux of DDAB, Clinetta Weinrich and Shawna McKellar of the Montgomery County Adult Literacy program, Janet Stumbaugh of NRG Packs, Kathy Block of NECAC, Jan Milzark of Birthright and Jessica Rogalski of VOYCE. All of the agencies are funded by the United Way.
“We’re raising money,” United Way President Joan Andrews told the agencies. “It has been a little slim last year. We’re giving it all back to you all. We may not be able to fully fund what you asked for, but keep asking every year for what you want. Hopefully, we’ll get back up with donations where we can give you what you need.”
Ohrberg said Montgomery County Cares is working on putting up transitional housing in the area this year.
“Our emergency housing bill was $7,078.38 for the year,” Ohrberg said. “We put quite a few people up in the motels. Right now, the America’s Best Value Inn in New Florence has just opened up again before we can get back in there. We’ve been going to the motel and they were charging us $80 a night. This year, our expenses are going to go up. They’re telling me when America’s Best Value Inn gets remodeled, they’re going to change it to Holiday Inn and they’re going to start charging us $109 a night.”
Burch heads a senior center that has plenty of activities such as pool, bingo and game night. Last year, it held a prom for senior citizens.
“We really try hard this year to really work on things that will bring them in for fellowship and make new friends,” Burch said. “It’s kind of like a family hub up there.”
Weinrich works for a literacy council that teaches county residents how to read and help them finish their high school education. The organization plans to attend a resource fair at Reach Church on Feb. 14.
“We do try to speak to as many organizations as possible,” Weinrich said. “One of the things that I have found out is we have to get the word out and let them know that we have it here, where and what time do they meet and how do they enroll in it. We’ll do a lot of flyers and a lot of handouts.”
Milzark shares director duties with Susie Adams at Birthright. Recently, the Montgomery City organization worked with a couple that recently had twins weighing nearly eight pounds apiece.
“The couple was in desperate need of stuff,” Milzark said. “It’s an older couple. They had contacted one of the volunteers that they have been working very closely with. She came up on her own time, worked with the couple and got their baskets.”
Block said NECAC served over 10,000 individuals last year.
“We have a lot of contracts that we contract with to do programs,” Block said. “So we use the United Way funding for direct services. We try to keep them for items that we don’t have other funding for.”
Stumbaugh works for an NRG Packs organization that has 10 board members and serves 120 area students a week. Community groups pack the items.
“We’re blessed to be in a great community with volunteers,” Stumbaugh said.
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