A ‘United’ effort: Charity campaign kicks off new year

Published 5:00 am Friday, October 6, 2017

The United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) kicked off its 2017-18 fundraising campaign Tuesday afternoon in Bogalusa at the ESM United Methodist Church’s family life center.

United Way’s campaign helps fund 10 local agencies in Washington Parish. These agencies help serve many needs in the community, and assist local citizens regardless of age, race, income level or any other difference.

“We appreciate everything that you do to bring these services to those who are in need,” said Charlotte Champagne, executive director for the Washington Parish regional office of UWSELA.

District Attorney Warren Montgomery was the guest speaker at the kickoff event Tuesday. Montgomery noted that a low-income existence often leads to crime, and praised the United Way for its efforts to eradicate poverty.

“I would love for y’all to be able to put me out of business,” he said.

Montgomery talked about several programs that his office has instituted, in order to provide alternatives to jail time for those who have committed minor offenses.

“We all make mistakes in our lives and deserve a second chance,” he said.

The district attorney also praised the citizens and businesses that donate to United Way every year, and the good that they create.

“As Ronald Reagan used to say, a rising tide lifts all boats,” he said. “None of us can do all things, but all of us can do something.”

The local agency partners that United Way helps to fund include ADAPT, Inc.; American Red Cross; Bogalusa YMCA; Cancer Association of Greater New Orleans; Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New Orleans; Regina Coeli Child Development Center (oversees Head Start programs in Bogalusa and Franklinton); Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans; Southeast Louisiana Legal Services; VIA LINK (211) information hotline; and the Youth Services Bureau.

Prior to Montgomery’s speech, Champagne congratulated the top six businesses and organizations that donated the most to United Way’s 2016-17 campaign. The top campaign contributor was International Paper, followed by Rayburn Correctional Center, Our Lady of the Angels Hospital, Centerpoint Energy, Entergy of Washington Parish, and the Bogalusa city government.

On Thursday, United Way held a second kickoff event in Franklinton, at the Centenary United Methodist Church. The luncheon included a screening and panel discussion of the film, “Five Awake — United Against Domestic Violence.”

The guest speaker at Thursday’s event was Charmaine Caccioppi, chief operating officer for UWSELA.

For more information, visit unitedwaysela.org or call the Washington Parish office at 985-732-2305. The United Way is also on Facebook at “UnitedWaySELA” or on Twitter at “@UnitedWaySELA.”