By Sarah Robinson/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The United Way of Northeast Mississippi has awarded more than $1.16 million to area agencies.
Funds will be distributed to 45 groups. The largest single gift of $145,000 was directed to the Lee County chapter of the Salvation Army and $100,000 was allocated to the Boys and Girls Club.
The funds support vital health and human services programs, said Susie Morgan, director of communications for the United Way chapter.
“Not only did we raise more than we’ve ever raised, we were able to give more to agencies we support,” she said. “By us doing that, they are able to help more people.”
Area nonprofits were grateful for the funds. Red Cross Northeast Mississippi Chapter Manager Patty Tucker said her group would not be able to provide “the same level of service that we provide in the community without the support of the United Way.”
Tucker said the $69,000 grant represents almost 20 percent of the total amount spent to aid victims of disaster each year in the region’s 16 counties.
She added that the Red Cross chapter not only responds to natural disasters but aids two to three families a week that have lost their homes in fires. The organization provides distressed families help meeting their basic immediate needs.
Zell Long, chief professional officer for the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Mississippi, said the $100,000 donation it received would go a long way.
“I am ecstatic, the board is ecstatic. We are so thankful,” she said.
The funds pay for gas, supplies and support operations. The Boys and Girls Club chapter has nine full-time staff members and 30 part-time employees in five counties across the region.
The money also supports its summer program, which operates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week, for six weeks.
Other recipients of large gifts included SAFE in Tupelo ($75,000), Habitat for Humanity ($65,000), the Boy Scouts ($75,000) and the Girl Scouts ($42,500).
“Its a wonderful network and its really great to be a part of it,” Morgan said.