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Community volunteers, Alabama Power, help put food on the table for needy families in the Wiregrass

The Wiregrass Area Food Bank recently received a bounty of 30,000 meals to help feed families in need, thanks to the muscle of community volunteers and support from Alabama Power.

The volunteer service project helped kick off this year’s Pacesetter campaign for Wiregrass United Way.

Volunteers from throughout the Wiregrass United Way’s six-county region, including members of the Alabama Power Service Organization, packaged the 30,000 meals with support from a grant from Alabama Power. Each package was designed to feed a family of three and contained the ingredients to make soup, including beans, rice and seasonings.

“Alabama Power is proud to fund worthwhile projects in our community and help launch United Way’s annual campaign in such a meaningful way,” said Trenton Dillard, Alabama Power Community Relations manager in Enterprise and campaign chairman for Wiregrass United Way. “Every family in our community has been touched in some way by a United Way agency. It is important that we support these organizations so help is there when it’s needed.”

Wiregrass United Way has served the area since 1938, funding 37 member agencies that support individuals and families in Barbour, Coffee, Dale, Geneva, Henry and Houston counties. Funds raised by Wiregrass United Way stay in the community, supporting people across the region.

Volunteers package food to support families, kicking off this year’s Wiregrass United Way campaign. (contributed)

Each year, area businesses agree to hold their employee campaigns for United Way between August and mid-September. These businesses make up the Pacesetters. Approximately 100 area businesses and organizations are expected to take part as Pacesetters this year. It is not too late for companies to be a Pacesetter, said Wiregrass United Way officials.

The goal is to complete all employee campaigns by the end of October. The Pacesetters help jump-start the campaign ahead of the official community kickoff Sept. 22.

With the theme “For the Wiregrass,” this year’s campaign highlights issues Wiregrass United Way is addressing for the benefit of the region. These include meeting basic needs, such as providing food and supporting affordable housing; helping youths succeed in life; providing services to people with special needs; strengthening families; and breaking the cycle of child abuse.

Volunteers package food to support families. (contributed)

More than 1,000 volunteers are expected to support Wiregrass United Way and its mission in the coming year. A volunteer board of trustees leads the organization. Hope Johnson, president and CEO of Friend Bank, is this year’s board chair.

Each county served by Wiregrass United Way has a leadership team consisting of a county board chair and county campaign chair. Serving in those roles for 2022 are: in Barbour County – Sallie Garrison, board chair, and Erin Wingate, campaign chair; Coffee County – Toni Kaminski, board chair, and Lee Milliner, campaign chair; Dale County – Brandon Benefield, board chair, and Leah Harlow, campaign chair; Geneva County – Ron Snell, board chair, and Jason Thrash, campaign chair; Henry County – Heather Shippey, board chair, and Sara McKee, campaign chair; and Houston County – Vincent Vincent, board chair, and Chris Etheredge, campaign chair.

For more information about Wiregrass United Way and this year’s campaign, call 334-792-9661 or visit the website at

Information from the Dothan Eagle was used in this report.