NCUW helping those in need

Nolan County's money is already hard at work. The Nolan County United Way has distributed their first allocation for the year. This year there are nine agencies receiving funds: The American Red Cross, Gateway Family Services, SNAP (Senior Nutrition Activities Program), Back Pack Buddies, WTCAC (West Texas Child Advocacy Center), Cancer Services Network, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and Women's Resource Center. "All our workers are volunteers so all the money we receive is used to pay our operating expenses," Adabelle Clark, representative of the Women's Resource Center, said. "Thank you for assisting us in filling the needs of those who are struggling to have healthy, happy babies."After receiving their allocations, each agency has the sole decision of how to spend that money in support of their services. The American Red Cross is responsible for responding within Nolan County to assist families struck by disaster. They provide shelter during large scale disasters and provide respite care to first responders during their operations. “The efforts of the American Red Cross are carried out by volunteers and supported solely by the donated dollars of the community,” Tim Cox said. “Without either volunteers or community donation, the American Red Cross would not be capable of accomplishing its mission.”While the American Red Cross is helping those struck by disaster, Gateway Family Services is providing assistance to those struck by family violence. The services they provide consist of emergency shelter, food, clothing, peer counseling and victim advocacy and services. All the services are provided without charge to survivors of these crimes. Gateway's non-residential outreach office is located at 317 Oak Street. There is also a 24-hour hotline number, 800-578-8054 and the local number is 235-1552. “With the current condition of our economy we are seeing more of our elderly and disabled citizens needing home delivered meals,” –Lyndia Allen said. “The funds we receive from United Way enable us to supplement and expand our Meals on Wheels program.”The SNAP program provides a way for the senior citizens of the community to enjoy a hot lunch every day, as well as socialization and entertainment activities. The program is always in need of volunteers and can be contacted at Tonya Challis. The West Texas Children's Advocacy Center is aimed at serving the younger generation, in hopes of providing them with a healthy and safe future. The organization is run completely by donations and a small portion of funding from the state level. “Bringing unity and efficiency to investigations of child abuse through the use of a multi-disciplinary team comprised of law enforcement, child protective services, medical and mental health professionals, prosecutors and other individuals are necessary to providing the best possible service to restore the lives of these families and our community,” Teresa Zarate said. All of the agencies are aimed at providing assistance, but on different levels. The Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts are aimed at instilling leadership qualities and good citizenship, through educational and informational activities to the community's youth.In 2010, the boy scouts appointed David Angle as scout executive to lead the Texas Trails Council, BSA, diversified the board of directors to be more representative of the council's territory, convened a complete administrative review. “In the review we established and scheduled board oversight and accountability” Doug Paxton said. “We also implemented recommended changes and improvements in overall council operations.”Two successful weeks of summer camp, at each of the council camps, were also completed. A new property manager is now employed to better maintain council properties and keep the camps in optimal operating condition for the scouts and families.“We were able to implement and maintain one of the highest traditional membership growth records in Texas for 2010,” Paxton said. The Girl Scouts weren't sitting on the sidelines either, with their allocated funding. The girls are able to learn leadership skills by taking part in the Discover, Connect and Take Action program. “This program provides the girls with girl scouting keys to leadership and are available to girls in Nolan County,” Shelby Crews said. On top of their programs, the girl scouts take pride in helping Nolan County through various community service projects. The troops have even sent cards and cookies to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan through the Project Troop to Troop initiative. They have also visited local nursing homes. Another agency receiving funds is the Back Pack Buddies, which was started by a local young girl and her mother. Through this program “chronically hungry” children are able to receive assistance. “Thanks to the United Way funds, we have been able to help every child identified as “chronically hungry” by the school staff and administration,” Leah Andrews said. One of the recent Back Pack Buddies projects was the assembly and distribution of a “care package.” The package included soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant and lip balm. “The NCUW funds allow us to fill more than 300 bags of food for hungry kids,” Leah Andrews said. “It has already enabled us to try and continue the program throughout the summer months, when the children have no school meals.”When it comes to dealing with hard times, Cancer Services Network is there to help, as well. One client in particular has been able to benefit from the allocated funds of the NCUW. “We have one client that has to make an 80 mile round trip each session of treatment,” Nancy Estes said. “We have not only been able to assist her with that expense, but also provide her nutritional supplement when she was sick and unable to keep anything down, due to chemo.”Assistance was also provided by helping cover the insurance costs, to ensure that she was able to keep her insurance to help pay the bills. She also received wigs and hats when she began to lose her hair because of chemotherapy treatments.“Cancer Services Network is a wonderful organization,” the anonymous client said. “Everyone their serves with a caring heart and a smile on their face.”The help that the network provided surely made a mark on this client's life. The caring, understanding and support that was provided was above and beyond in her opinion. “They really went the extra mile to ease my mind,” she said. “You just couldn't ask for more.”The donations that the NCUW receive throughout the year may seem small or unnoticed, but that is far from the truth. “The allocations make a huge difference in the operations of our agencies, which in turn makes a huge difference in the lives of the people that they help,” Wendy Smartt, NCUW executive director said. She continued on to say, "United Way is the most powerful way to give in our community," Smartt said. "By adding your gift to that of others, we can accomplish so much more than we could alone!"To find out more information or how to help support the NCUW contact Smartt at 325-235-9522 or by email at