STEUBENVILLE - The volunteers attending the first report luncheon for the United Way of Jefferson County Thursday stood and applauded when Aimee Belden, who handles community relations for Chesapeake Energy, announced a $10,000 donation from the energy company.
That money will be used to help fund the 211 Information and Referral service that is now being organized.
The United Way volunteers who gathered at the YWCA heard from Sherri McKinney-Frantz, director of 211 Information and Referral and Government Relations for the United Way of Stark County.
AN EXCITING REPORT — The United Way of Jefferson County reported Thursday the current campaign is nearly one-third of the way toward its $440,000 goal. Among those taking part in the report meeting were, from left, Ross Gallabrese, president of the United Way of Jefferson County board of directors; Amelia Taggart, interim director of the local United Way; Aimee Belden, community relations for Chesapeake Energy; Sherri McKinney-Frantz, director of 211 and government relations for the United Way of Greater Stark County; and Anthony Mougianis, 2013 campaign chairman.
"Last year, the 211 service received more than 38,000 phone calls from people seeking help. We are a 24/7 service and once the 211 service is in place in Jefferson County the phones will ring in Stark County. But we have already contacted more than 200 agencies in Jefferson County and we will be ready to assist people looking for help," explained McKinney-Frantz.
"Last year, the No. 1 request in Ohio was for food. Housing and help with utilities are also requests we receive. And our job is to refer people to the right agency that can provide the needed assistance," McKinney-Frantz said.
It was a day for encouraging donations that included a $12,000 donation from Apollo Pro Cleaning, which included a match of $6,000 from owner Anthony Mougianis.
Mougianis, who is serving as chairman of the 2013 campaign, said he has always maintained a philosophy of "paying forward."
"I have been so blessed in my life and I feel obligated to help others in need. We have 17 United Way member agencies this year and I am very excited to help the United Way in giving back," Mougianis said.
"The great Ohio State (University) football Coach Woody Hayes always said the past is behind you. There is nothing you can do about the past. But the future is in front of you and you can pay forward. I encourage my employees to embrace that strategy. Let's keep forging ahead and let's pay forward," said Mougianis.
The division chairs individually reported their financial efforts so far, and Ross Gallabrese, president of the United Way of Jefferson County's board of directors, reported the volunteers have raised $140,012.32 toward the $440,000 goal.
"I look around the room today and I see many familiar faces. And I also see new faces here today, and that shows a growing interest in the United Way. In my opinion we have the hardest -working board in Jefferson County. I can't thank you all enough for everything you do," said Gallabrese.
"I decided to stay on as president of the United Way board of directors for a second year because I knew Anthony Mougianis was going to lead this year's campaign. We started our campaign strong in March when he auctioned off his Ohio State University memorabilia collection," related Gallabrese.
"We have several more events coming up. My charge to each and everyone of you is to work hard and let's make our next report just as successful as this one," concluded Gallabrese.
Gallabrese said the annual Taste of Jefferson County is set for 5 p.m. on Oct. 9 at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville.
The annual Day of Caring will take place on Oct. 26 throughout the county.
Gallabrese said the second-annual Webathon at the Herald-Star will be held on Nov. 15. And, the next report luncheon is at noon on Dec. 5 at the Hellenic Hall.