United Fund falling short of goal

Staff reports

As the final days of the 2007 Neosho Area United Community Fund wind down, the campaign is still about $20,000 short of its campaign goal.

Kathi Stephens, executive director with United Fund, said received and expected donations tally $110,198.16, nearly $20,000 short of the drive’s $130,000 goal. The campaign ends on Monday.

“I know it’s tough when everybody is seeking money at the same time,” Stephens said.

“But while many agencies raise money for around the holidays, the United Fund raises money for charities to use all year round. This is an all-year thing, not just a holiday thing.”

The United Fund, now in its 50th year of service, provides funding for 18 not-for-profit agencies which serve residents of Newton and McDonald counties. Stephens said these agencies touch nearly everyone in these counties at one time or another. These include agencies which serve children, the elderly, those infirm or with disabilities, a child in Scouting, the mentally ill, the homeless, those trapped in substance abuse, and other activities.

“With funding through your United Fund, these agencies provide services in health, education and recreation for citizens of the Neosho area,” she said.

A brief description of the agencies and their mission follows:

- Area Agency on Aging — This group’s goal is to facilitate the development of a comprehensive and coordinated system of services to assure older persons may live independently and with dignity as long as possible in Newton and McDonald counties;

- Area Community Health Emissaries Dental Clinic — Helps low-income children in Newton and McDonald counties achieve good oral health by providing education, prevention and restorative dental services to children ages 3 to 18. The group achieves these goals through a collaboration of partnerships with schools, local health departments, community organizations and churches;

- Boy Scouts of America — Donations underwrite camperships which allow needy scouts to attend camp and helps scouts develop positive values through comprehensive programs of character building, citizenship training, physical fitness and community service. This organization serves the Ozark Trails Council, which includes Newton and McDonald counties;

- Ozark Area Girl Scouts — A contemporary program of fun and learning designed to help all girls, regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, or disability develop self-esteem and research their full potential as youthful citizens today and responsible leaders in a changing global society tomorrow in the Ozark area, including Newton and McDonald counties;

- The Children’s Mercy Hospital — Based in Kansas City, the hospital provides critically ill children from Newton and McDonald counties with special emergency care facilities. It also provides parent care units so parents can stay and help care for their children;

- Newton County 4-H Clubs — Monies received by this organization assist young people in Newton County attend camps and provide citizenship training as part of their programs to enrich young lives;

- Salvation Army — Provides emergency assistance for food, shelter, counseling, transportation, prescriptions and assistance to victims of fire and natural disasters in Newton County, and special referrals in McDonald County;

- Cerebral Palsy of Tri-County Missouri — Helps babies and pre-school children from Newton and McDonald counties with special emergency care facilities. Funds are used primarily for transportation to facilities in Joplin;

- Newton County Cancer Fund — This group assists cancer patients with transportation, medication, equipment, artificial limbs and X-ray treatment;

- Newton County Emergency Fund — Through the Division of Family Services, this fund provides for emergency needs of food, clothing, medicine and lodging;

- Southwest Family YMCA — An organization serving Newton and McDonald counties which centers on family programs, youth sports, provides child care, exercise programs for senior citizens, and other activities that build a healthy body, mind and spirit;

- Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Newton and Jasper Counties — This organization empowers youth through mentoring to develop a sense of worth and responsibility. The agency strives to be an agile, collaborative, non-profit organization specializing in mentoring and youth development;

- American Red Cross — Best known for blood collection, this agency also works to save lives through disaster education and courses in CPR, first aid, and water safety. It also provides financial assistance for victims of fires and natural disasters and serves as the emergency link between military personnel and family members in Newton County;

- Student Assistance Fund — Provides funds through the Neosho School System for children in Newton County and Goodman in need of clothing, food, milk and medicine;

- Crosslines Distribution and Guest House — Provides clothing for low-income families from their food and clothing bank. It also provides some household items along with food baskets for needy families. The Guest House provides emergency shelter, food, clothing, furniture, transitional housing, job training and placement for the needy of Newton County;

- Lafayette House — This agency conducts programs which deal with domestic violence, physical abuse, substance abuse and young mothers. It also provides shelter, day care and counseling for those seeking help in Newton and McDonald counties;

- Special Olympics of Missouri — This group provides funds for the less fortunate in Newton and McDonald counties to participate in organized sports programs.

The United Fund is governed by a 16-member board of directors representing a wide range of areas in the community, from retired people to industry to small business to human services to the media. Volunteers from all facets of the community assist the fund drive.

For more information about the United Fund, or to make a donation, please call Stephens at 451-2125 or stop by the office at 216 W. Spring St., inside the KQYS studios.

Neosho Daily News