By Sue Moore
Members of the Vicksburg United Way committee will re-organize for the 2017 campaign due to the departure of long-time chairperson Laura Howard. She served in that capacity for at least 15 years and sought to retire from the allocations and campaign committee. “We will keep things going but will miss Laura’s leadership,” said Carol Lohman, who has been a volunteer during most of Howard’s tenure.
New people are stepping up to help with the campaign, which kicks off on October 18. The committee is recruiting new members as well as launching the third annual Fabulous Flapjack Breakfast at the Vicksburg United Methodist Church from 7-10 a.m. on that day.
Vicksburg’s committee is a member of the United Way of the Kalamazoo Battle Creek Region campaign and contributes to the overall success of the bigger organization. The money raised by Vicksburg area volunteers is returned to the community for allocation to local nonprofit organizations.
In 2016, $12,650 was allocated from the Vicksburg campaign, with $11,000 going to South County Community Services for its senior outreach program. Another $1,750 went to Generous Hands Inc., for a new back-to-school effort to provide shoes for children enrolled in the backpack program at the beginning of the year. New shoes were provided to 85 children from 70 families. 154 students received school supplies from Generous Hands, according to Sheri Louis, executive director. The two nonprofits shared the expense of the event, including the shoes. They have also received monetary donations and school supplies from many businesses, organizations and churches in Vicksburg, Portage and Fulton, Louis said.