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United Way shares stories from the community

We’ve officially entered the season of giving, and while we’re all shifting our focus to the spirit of the season, it’s also time to reflect on the year. And oh, what a hectic whirlwind of a year it’s been.

At the United Way, we often see the hard work that goes on in this community, and it’s important to tell you the success stories, especially in a year like this one. Those moments when we heard the stories about how lives have been touched and a dent has been made in the overwhelming crisis at hand.

It’s the “God bless yous” and the “You’re angels” yelled out from rolled down windows and passing cars that often make standing in the rain loading boxes of food into vehicles well worth it.

But sometimes, you’ll get a story that really tugs at the heart and makes you realize just how impactful one gesture can be.

Take the woman, for example, who began receiving food from our Helpful Harvest Food Program and started canning many of the items she received. She had been diagnosed with cancer and knowing that she would likely be hospitalized in the near future, she made sure her family had food to eat during that troublesome time.

Or take another story about the Helpful Harvest Food Program, one we’ve heard quite often. 

“Receiving food has lifted the worry off of my shoulders. I have not had to worry about choosing between my diabetic medication and going to the store.” 

This difficult decision to choose between medication and food, or perhaps between financial obligations and food, all of which were made more difficult by a long-lasting pandemic, was a driving force for creating Helpful Harvest this year.

Finding the right resource to help someone is vital for us, as the WV211 line rings into our offices on a daily basis. Sam at Friendship House told us how important it is to have a place to turn to for those types of referrals.

“For people like me who have emotional and mental disorders and for those who are homeless, we wouldn’t be able to find the resources without the United Way to help us thrive or even maintain a life,” he said.

In Reedsville, Rosie, an employee at Preston County Workshop, told us how difficult it was to make ends meet while trying to find work with a disability. The workshop was able to provide a job that fit her needs.

“Without the funding, I would be at home. I would have no job,” she said. “I would just be living on disability, which is not much and doesn’t put food on the table. It would pay the utilities, but I would have to rely on the food banks and the food pantries for food. And we’ve been there. We’ve already done that before I found this job. And it’s hard to survive that way.” 

Another program that has been continuing to serve folks in our area is Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, by sending out  free books in the mail to children ages birth-5. The Imagination Library, which is funded in Monongalia County by the United Way and its affinity group Women United, has still been mailing out books despite the pandemic.

“My children go crazy when they get a new book in the mail. They absolutely love it,” one parent told us.

“It’s such a great program. Books can be so expensive. This program makes sure no matter your income that every child has access to books,” another said.

And yet another touched on how impactful the program was for their kids’ education: “My children love all the books we’ve received, and we read them several times a day. My child’s vocabulary has also significantly increased.” 

It’s lovely to hear the success stories, of course. It’s what keeps us going, and we love to share them. And we hope to continue doing so as there are so many in Monongalia and Preston counties who need our help.

As you are decorating your homes and buying gifts for family and friends this year, please keep those in need in our community in your thoughts and prayers. And if you feel compelled to help in some way, we would love to hear from you. Email us at

Amanda Posey is the director of marketing and communications for the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties. She can be reached at