United Way all about giving back

More than 200 people gathered Thursday morning at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center on Market Street in Steubenville.

They made small talk, enjoyed 30 minutes or so of camaraderie, ate a light breakfast and, after a few words of encouragement, went off to help others.

All volunteers, they helped to make the United Way of Jefferson County’s Tony Mougianis Day of Action a success.

It’s an event that annually marks the start of the organization’s fundraising campaign, one that offers nonprofit agencies and small communities the opportunity to have projects completed that otherwise would be too costly or require larger staffing levels than they could meet.

The focus of the United Way will look a little different than in previous years. Emphasis will be placed on addressing the generational poverty issues that have affected many parts of our area. The goal, according to Executive Director Kate Sedgmer, is to work to end that cycle by helping those in need find better housing and providing better access to transportation.

While the mission has become broader, this year’s campaign goal has been lowered to $350,000. Hitting that total will continue to be a challenge, especially after last year’s campaign fell short of its goal.

Leading the way in raising that money will be a team led by Tyra and Tom Timmons, who are returning as campaign chairs. They will work with board President Ted Gorman, Sedgmer and volunteers from around the area on this year’s campaign.

Helping to make the Day of Action a success were many sponsors, including Apollo Pro Cleaning and Restoration, Eastern Gateway Community College, IBEW Local 246, Cardinal Operating Co., FirstEnergy Foundation and Trinity Health System.

United Way has gone through many changes during its 88 years of providing a helping hand to residents of Jefferson County. Its essence, though, has not changed — it’s all about giving back to the community, Gorman said Thursday morning.

His thoughts were echoed by Mougianis, the immediate past president, who reminded those who attended the breakfast that “every task, every show of stewardship” helps to build a stronger community.

The United Way’s campaign is under way.

We hope you will support it.