Local agencies benefit from Nolan County United Way

The Nolan County United Way (NCUW) is committed to serving local entities with a yearly campaign. This year's focus is "Give Where You Live".The NCUW is a local organization that runs solely on pledges, led by a board of volunteers throughout the community who desire to impact the caring power of the community. Wendy Smartt serves as the group's Executive Director.Donors to the Nolan County United Way can give a one-time donation through a payroll deduction or a quarterly basis, which allows the organization to impact thousands within the community through the nine agencies supported. They are the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, SNAP (Senior Nutrition Activities Program), Cancer Services Network, Gateway Family Services, Sweetwater BackPack Buddies, the West Texas Children's Advocacy Center (WTCAC), the Big Country Medical Reserve Corps, and the Women's Resource Center.The groups must undergo an annual interview process and meet a variety of guidelines in order to receive assistance from the NCUW. Over the course of a year, the agencies receive support on three different occasions.With the 2012 goal set at $85,000, the money raised by the NCUW will stay within the county to help the agencies. One of the organizations who have benefitted from the Nolan County United Way is Cancer Services Network (CSN), who strive to provide help and hope to cancer patients and survivors along with their families and caregivers through direct financial, emotional and social programs and services.Great increases were seen in 2011 in the way that CSN provided financial assistance to clients in Nolan County, which includes insurance assistance, nutritional supplements, cancer prescriptions, medical supplies and transportation to and from cancer treatment. They were able to reach 34 clients within Nolan County, with 281 units of service valued at $6,153.57.They strive to impact the lives of underserved cancer patients who are undergoing active treatment (radiation or chemotherapy treatment) and reside in rural West Central Texas; in Nolan County, 85% of cancer patients receiving assistance lived at or below 150% of poverty. 75% of patients were female, with the remaining quarter being male. Sixty-five percent were at or over 60 years of age, while 35% were under 60 years old. In 2011, $131,300 was spent on client services for Nolan County cancer patients--five percent of all dollars spent, which makes up two percent of the total budget for 2011. These estimates are from the year-end financial reports and the client software program Razz.Cancer Services Network has four objectives in their CSN Patient Service program. They strive to offer hope to newly diagnosed cancer patients and/or caregivers by completing forms that determine eligibility for their Client Assistance program, as well as providing information and referral services.Secondly, qualified patients receive support from the program through a variety of means to help reduce the financial stress for the patient and caregiver through prescription services, nutritional supplements, transportation reimbursement, insurance continuation, equipment and medical supplies, and emergency funds.Also, social workers will make a home, hospital or clinic-setting visit to cancer patients and caregivers in order to reduce the isolation that a patient may experience.Finally, participants in the Nolan County program can cope with their disease as well as manage their finances and personal affairs, due to the assistance received from CSN.Those assisted by Cancer Services Network must live within a 19-county service area. Along with Nolan County, they include Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, Fisher, Haskell, Jones, Kent, Knox, Mitchell, Runnels, Scurry, Shackelford, Stephens, Stonewall, Taylor and Throckmorton.This article is part of a series called "Nolan County United Way: Agency Spotlight". Through a partnership with the NCUW, the Sweetwater Reporter hopes to inform readers about all nine agencies. To learn more about the Nolan County United Way or for opportunities to volunteer, contact Smartt at nolancountyuw@yahoo.com or by voice mail at 325-235-9522.