Shelby County United Way responds during pandemic

SIDNEY — Scott Barr, Shelby County United Way President shares, “During 2020 the Shelby County United Way was a community leader during the pandemic. Along with our partner agencies, we addressed critical needs for residents. For the seventh time in the past eight years we received the highest rating from Charity Navigator as a top performing non-profit agency and local United Way.”

Over 17,000 residents were served last year through our 27 partner agencies and Special Projects, POWER, and Student United Way grants.

His report continues:

The fall campaign was challenging with companies at different operational levels and safety standards. Few onsite employee presentations took place to minimize the potential spread of COVID. Many different marketing tools and videos were used to share the great message of United Way programming and partner agencies. The Shelby County United Way is humbled that we are anticipating campaign revenues to exceed, $1,250,000 through a pandemic. Although this is a reduction of $100,000 from last year, this is an amazing accomplishment and a testament to the generosity of our community, employers, and residents.

During the pandemic the Shelby County United Way awarded $65,000 in emergency relief funding. $45,000 was awarded for rent and utility assistance to Job and Family Services and Alpha Community Center. $10,000 was awarded to Agape Distribution for food assistance. The Community Foundation of Shelby County and the Shelby County United Way each made $10,000 contributions to start the 2020 Recovery Fund and participated in the fund administration. Two food drives were facilitated by the Shelby County United Way with the West Ohio Food Bank and the Ohio National Guard. An additional $100,000 was awarded to partner agencies in December based on their impact areas and operational status during the pandemic. The Community Christmas Dinner continued, this year by carry out.

In December, our Board of Directors voted unanimously to award the Alpha Community Center and the Mercy Mission House $150,000 as a seed gift to start their capital campaign to bring Emergency Housing Programming to Shelby County. This $1.3 million dollar project will create a men’s dorm, a women’s dorm, three family suites, and over flow capacity as needed, including a warming shelter. This project will relocate the Alpha Community Center, Holy Angels Soup Kitchen, Bridges Community Action and hold the new Mercy Mission House onto one campus providing emergency shelter, soup kitchen meals, emergency food pantry, emergency rent and utility assistance, winter heat assistance, and rapid re-housing assistance. A relationship for counseling services will be provided by Family Resource Center.

Our women’s initiative group, POWER, continues to grow in membership and impact, now exceeding 108 ladies. During the summer they awarded $21,5000 in grants to family, youth, and school-based organizations. Please contact Amy West at 937-492-2101 or to become a POWER member.

Student United Way is completing its fourth year. One junior and one senior from every high school in the county is participating. They meet once a month to learn what programs the United Way funds and what are some of the primary community issues facing Shelby County. They have been provided a $10,000.00 allocation budget and during the spring will review and award grants impacting youth in Shelby County.

Shelby County leads the State of Ohio in Dolly Parton Imagination Library participation at 69%. Over 2400 children receive books monthly and over 160,000 books have been mailed since the launch in March of 2015. The Shelby County libraries and many other funders support this program and Wilson Health enrolls new babies at the birthing center.

The Shelby County United Way will continue to meet the needs of our community in 2021 thanks to the compassion and kindness of our community.


Two food drives were facilitated by the Shelby County United Way with the West Ohio Food Bank and the Ohio National Guard. food drives were facilitated by the Shelby County United Way with the West Ohio Food Bank and the Ohio National Guard. Courtesy photo photo photo