Spence explained the financial aspects of the local United Way chapter and stressed cutting down administrative costs. Around 80 percent of the money the United Way has goes directly to the agencies, she said.
She informed Kiwanis Club members recently about the 18 agencies located in Gordon County, including American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club, LEJO, Council for a Literate Community, and The Bridge.
One of the agencies working along-side United Way is Big Brothers Big Sisters. This organization involves many people in the community who help mentor children in after school and summer programs. Spence talked about the buddy program BBBS organizes, in which a person meets a child once a week for 9 months.
"Someone who did the buddy program started helping a child while they were in the third grade," Spence explained, "and they probably wouldn’t have graduated high school without their buddy."
The Kiwanis Club discussed their experiences helping the VAC (Voluntary Action Center) with a community kitchen.
The VAC recently opened a community kitchen where anyone can receive a hot meal once a week. Turn out at the kitchen was not as large as planned the first time, Spence said, but the effort is growing.
Spence said some people choose to donate and support United Way because of the larger clubs they have been part of like Gordon County 4-H, Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts.
Spence went on to describe the many other organizations involved with United Way and their functions. The Calhoun Recreation Department and Gordon County Recreation Department help keep the youth active by helping them join in city community sports, Spence said.
Many agencies involve people with special needs including the George Chambers Resource Center, which provides supportive employment and activities for adults with disabilities. Other agencies helping special needs adults and children include Camp New Adventure and the Special Olympics, Spence said.
One of the oldest United Way agencies in Gordon County is the Winner's Club of Calhoun. This organization helps to support and tutor children at risk, Spence noted.
She also recognized local programs that work to prevent or address domestic and family violence including the Gordon County Domestic Violence Outreach Office and Prevent Child Abuse Gordon County at the Family Resource Center.