United Way of Wayne County Hosts Volunteer Fair

United Way of Wayne County Hosts Volunteer Fair

As adults, high school students, eager volunteers and nonprofit organizations all mingled inside the crowded Maxwell Center on Wednesday morning, it was a ringing testament to Wayne County’s desire to take care of its own.

The United Way of Wayne County hosted its third annual Volunteer Fair as nonprofits from throughout the county set up displays intent on sharing their respective causes with potential volunteers. The Volunteer Fair was supported by a grant from Americorps Volunteer Generation Fund through Volunteer NC in the office of Governor Roy Cooper.

This year’s fair marked the first time students from the Wayne School of Engineering had attended the fair.

“I’m just on fire about it,” said Sherry Archibald, United Way of Wayne County Executive Director. “Taking pictures earlier from up on the stage, it was so rewarding seeing all these young people here knowing that they’re getting to meet all these nonprofits and see what kind of work they’re doing. It sets your heart on fire.”

Radio personality Jeff Farrow from 98.3 FM WGBR was broadcasting live from the Volunteer Fair.

In addition to the Volunteer Fair, the United Way of Wayne County kicked off its campaign season. The goal this year is to raise $850,000. Bethany Perry, a volunteer with the United Way, announced that due to the efforts of 14 businesses that have already begun their employee donation campaigns, the United Way has already raised $206,755.19,

“That’s what front runners are all about is to kind of give you that kickoff and know that things are getting started,” said Archibald. “We’ve got a lot of work left to do, but we’re almost 25 percent there. Almost a quarter of the way there is exciting, and that’s what it’s all about it is it gives you that momentum to keep us going. We’ve got until late November, and we’re going to be meeting with a lot of our major investors and businesses across the whole county.”

Funds raised by the United Way will support 20 programs provided by 14 local nonprofits that focus on education, health and wellness, basic needs, and financial stability. These programs benefit the citizens of Wayne County.

During Wednesday’s volunteer fair, Derrick Remer, Duke Energy District Manager, and Government & Community Relations Director, presented the United Way with a check for $25,000 on behalf of the Duke Energy Foundation.

“The Duke Energy Foundation provides support all over the state and they’re really looking to be a driver for basic needs,” Archibald said. “We found out about a grant opportunity and applied for it, and we’ve got a lot of nonprofits doing really great work, but there’s just not enough. There’s gaps in the need and this will allow us to fill those gaps. If I get someone who can’t afford their medication, there’s not a nonprofit for that. So, this will give us funding for those unusual things that folks are having needs for. It will also allow us to hire someone part-time, and that part-time person can help navigate and follow along with individuals through case management so they’re not feeling alone out there trying to find a resource.”

Duke Energy is seeking to support the basic needs of many communities across North Carolina and thanks to the Duke Energy Foundation, the United Way of Wayne County is one of 39 organizations in North Carolina to collectively receive $1 million in grants.

“On behalf of the Duke Energy Foundation, we are so happy to be here,” said Remer. “Sherry (Archibald) and her team just do an absolutely amazing job here. This is part of over $1 million that the Duke Energy Foundation has given to nonprofits across the state of North Carolina. More importantly, it’s about each one of you out there. This is just a drop in the bucket but it matters at the end of the day.”