United Way continues to look for ways to serve community

A month into its 2013 campaign on the path to reach its $1.725 million goal, the Lycoming County United Way chief spoke at Monday’s Rotary Club meeting about projects the organization is continuing to work on along with its normal services and programs.

One of the special projects that the local United Way has partnered with four others in the Susquehanna Valley – Lewisburg, Danville, Bloomsburg and Berwick – to bring is Imagination Library, reported Scott N. Lowery, executive director. The project allows children ages 1 to 5 to receive an age-appropriate book through the mail each month for a year.

Lowery explained that children are able to sign up each year for the program. It is free to the child to be a part of but one can sponsor a child for $25 a year.

Lowery reported that this project is a way to prepare children for a life of literacy and encourage parents to take an active role in such an activity.

The United Way also has taken a role in the area’s 211 service. This service, as explained by Lowery, allows residents to call 211 and receive information on human services needs at any time of the day.

“It’s kind of like the human service version of 911,” he said.

For the county, Lowery said most of the calls to 211 dealt with housing and food needs.

The third project Lowery spoke about was the clearinghouse service, which allows information to be gathered and available to human service agencies around the area to help provide the most for residents.

As an example, Lowery said that it records when someone receives goods from a food bank, in order to avoid “double dipping” from another one during the same period of time.

To allow agencies to have the information faster, Lowery said the United Way also put the clearinghouse service online through a portal only accessible by the human services agencies.

“The entire human services network in this county benefits from it,” Lowery said of the service.

Lowery said these projects aside from the more than 30 programs that operate under the United Way’s umbrella is just another way to serve the community.

He noted that about one-third of the county or about 40,000 people were helped by the organization last year, which all is done with the help of those living in the county.

“It’s amazing to me the big hearts of this community to reach out and help people,” he said.