Coshocton County United Way celebrates 80 years

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Organization recognized by government officials for longevity in the community

COSHOCTON – It’s no stretch to say that the United Way of Coshocton County has helped tens of thousands of local citizens in its 80 year history.

Starting out as the Community Chest in 1940 and affiliating with the United Way of America in 1970, the local organization continues to support various charitable programs in the community and other projects, such as the Dolly Parton Imagination Library that provides books to youth.

State Sen. Jay Hottinger and Tim Ross from the Office of Congressman Bob Gibbs recently presented proclamations honoring the United Way of Coshocton County’s 80th anniversary at its office on Main Street. 

“The United Way in Coshocton and those around the state and across the entire country do so much to help so many people and many of those people are really just down and out on their luck and having difficult times,” Hottinger said. “You really do make a difference for those who need it most.”

Ross said a congressional office often gets calls for help from citizens that might not be their direct purview. When they get a call where they’re not sure where to turn, they go to the United Way in the given county.

“They kind of serve as a clearing house for all these great charitable organizations and programs that help a lot of people,” Ross said. “I know it’s a work of love. It’s not something you do to receive adulation or anything else, it’s about helping people.”

Many fundraisers and events have been cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this includes the annual Taste of Coshocton fundraising campaign kickoff and the new 0.5 K race. Local chapter Executive Director Lyn Mizer said the race is being moved to the spring.

They will also be recognizing retailers who have contributed to Taste of Coshocton and other events in the past with ImpACT Wednesdays. Businesses will be donating a portion of proceeds on given Wednesdays to the United Way. This will be Auer Ace Hardware and Keifer’s Florist on Sept. 23; Papa John’s Pizza, Dean’s Jewelry and Coffee Connection on Sept. 30; Lity’s Scrap Yard, Whit’s Frozen Custard and Fisher Decorating on Oct. 7; Linnett’s Flowers and Carroll’s Men Shop on Oct. 14 and Erwin Family Eye Care on Oct. 22. 

“I think the longevity of the United Way speaks for itself and what it continues to do for the communities they’re in, every United Way. The local level of volunteers that come together is just the heart and soul of what all United Ways do,” Mizer said. “Because of this virus, so many things are going digitally, but it’s really the person one-on-one that still drives us. You can’t communicate what we do through a computer necessarily. It’s person to person.”

What this year’s fundraising campaign might bring is hard to say right now, Mizer commented. The goal is $325,000, the same as 2019 to 2020. However, Mizer is always amazed by the generosity of local volunteers and donors.

“The sense of community we have here is not to be downplayed,’ Mizer said. “It’s easy to come up with people who want to roll up their sleeves, dig in and help.”

[email protected]

@llhayhurst

740-295-3417

United Way of Coshocton County current partner agencies

American Red Cross

Boy Scouts of America

Coshocton County Community Action Resources to Educate Students (C.A.R.E.S.)

First Step Family Violence Intervention Services 

Coshocton County Handicapped Society

Coshocton County Maternal and Child Health

Rising Tide Aquatic Club

Kids America/City Recreation

Ridgewood Recreation

Girls Scouts of America

River View East Recreation

River View West Recreation 

Coshocton County Salvation Army

History of the United Way of Coshocton County

1940 – Community Chest was formed with seven charter agencies and Guy Clow as chairman. Original agencies were Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Salvation Army, YWCA, Christmas Basket Fund, Hospital Auxiliary and summer band concerts.

1941 – Coshocton City Recreation was added as an agency

1951 – West Lafayette (Ridgewood) Recreation was added as an agency

1970 – Became affiliated with United Way of America.

1972 – Average per capita gift was $3.17. Today, it’s $113.90.

1977 – United Way office was with the license bureau at 115 N. Second St. Rent was $40 a month.

1980 – Incorporated as the United Way of Coshocton County, Inc. Mission was set to comfort children, soothe the troubled and give strength to the weak and helpless.

2015 – Mission set as uniting neighbors and resources to positively impact lives in Coshocton County.

2020 – Organization celebrates 80 years in the community and to day has more than $12 million for various charitable programs. 

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