United Way fund drive continues with events, payroll deduction, call for volunteers

LAWRENCE — There is still time to support the United Way of Douglas County 2019 Lawrence campus fund drive, which concludes Nov. 27.

Between now and then, there are several events on campus — from a chili cook-off and bake sale at Kansas Geological Survey to an International Affairs drawing for a parking spot — that focus on raising money for the organization.

KU employees also are given the opportunity to set up payroll deduction to contribute. Volunteering is another way the KU community can support the United Way.

This year’s campaign goal is to raise $200,000. The money received from KU has historically provided almost 10% of the total budget for the United Way of Douglas County.

The organization’s mission is to address the human service needs of Douglas County by mobilizing community resources and building partnerships. Community partners include Just Food, Lawrence Community Shelter, Willow Domestic Violence Center and many others.

This year’s campaign chair is Michelle Mohr Carney, dean of the School of Social Welfare. A social worker for more than 30 years, she started her career with the United Way. To demonstrate the need for United Way programs in Douglas County, Mohr Carney shared these statistics in her message to campus at the campaign’s start:

• Of Douglas County residents who are homeless, 21% are affected by domestic violence, 41% struggle with drug or alcohol abuse, and 44% have severe and persistent mental illness

• Kansas is one of only 13 states that charges a sales tax on groceries, and, with a 6.5% state food sales tax rate, has the second-highest grocery tax rate in the country.

• More than 16% of households in Douglas County are food insecure.

Those seeking access to services and resources for themselves or their family can call 211 or visit unitedwaydgco.org.

“We are all at different points in our lives — some of us can donate, some of us can volunteer, and others of us need the services the United Way and its partner agencies can provide,” said Melissa Rhodes, campus campaign coordinator. “I encourage every employee to take a moment to look at unitedway.ku.edu and educate themselves about how the United Way serves Douglas County.”