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Jane Liebscher, left, president of United Way of Greater High Point, and Joe Barnes, vice-president of resource development, thank guest speaker Betty Stone at Wednesday’s annual meeting at the High Point Country Club.

HIGH POINT — Supporters and 27 partner agencies of the United Way of Greater High Point recognized its impact on the community throughout the ongoing pandemic as they gathered Wednesday for its annual meeting.

Local United Way President Jane Liebscher provided highlights of the past year and told the audience at the High Point Country Club it has been anything but normal. At the start of the pandemic, the outlook for the United Way’s annual fundraiser was bleak, she said. When the campaign ended, it was down only 7% from 2019 and ranked in the Top 10 of the most successful United Way campaigns in the state, she said.

“Our success is really not measured by the dollars we raise, but by the lives we change,” Liebscher said. “One out of every three people will be impacted by the United Way at some point in their lives.”

With a show of hands, most of the people in the room indicated the United Way had played a role in their lives at some time. The few who didn’t may have been surprised when Liebscher noted they may have relied on United Way partner agencies such as the American Red Cross when they gave blood or Girl Scouts when they bought cookies. Liebscher introduced two women whose lives the United Way directly changed.

The Boys and Girls Club provided a safe haven, the Big Brothers Big Sisters program connected her with lasting mentors and Communities in Schools at Welborn Middle and Andrews High schools gave direction and scholarship support as she was growing up, said Cryshaunda Rorie, who creates Boss Baby Pop Up Shop events and owns the children’s boutique I Am Blairs Closet LLC with her 5-year-old daughter, Blair Noelle Lattimore.

“These services helped me become who I am,” Rorie said.

Betty Stone, 82, volunteered with the United Way for 30 years and has been affiliated with Senior Resources of Guilford since 1998. Stone said she usually keeps her volunteer work undercover as she makes chili, banana pudding or conducts hot dog sales to donate proceeds anonymously. She got more involved with helping at Elm Towers and the Culler Center and by teaching arts and crafts to seniors at Macedonia Family Resource Center.

Stone recalled how the agencies had helped a man who had no shoes and another elderly man at Elm Towers who needed food but was ashamed to ask.

“The United Way has really helped Senior Resources because during COVID, all of the 800 participants were still offered meals every day,” Stone said. “I still get frozen meals when I can’t get out. This lets me know that Senior Resources and United Way are something great to be in. They are truly out here to help the community.”

Liebscher said COVID-19 was not a choice given, but how the United Way chose to respond made all the difference. She noted the United Way emergency fund raised more than $240,000 in a matter of weeks and was distributed through nonprofits to help individuals in the community whose lives had been dramatically impacted. The United Way helped host blood drives, distributed hundreds of cloth masks and collected thousands of pounds of food.

“Despite all the challenges that COVID-19 brought, the United Way of Greater High Point made the choice to continue to do what we do best, and that is to create a strong safety net of nonprofits to meet the vast needs of our community so our neighbors always have a place to turn for help,” Liebscher said.

Also at the meeting, Michelle McNair was named new chairperson of the United Way Board of Directors, replacing Jim Himes.

cingram@hpenews.com | 336-888-3534 | @HPEcinde

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