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United Way of Central Texas staff works to create ripple effect in their community

Posted at 8:44 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 13:50:58-04

25 News is partnering with the United Way of Central Texas to help the community during these unprecedented times.

The United Way focuses on basic needs, education, health care and financial stability for families.

"It fuels me. I left a 20-year career to do this full time because I have such passion for what United Way does and the real impact they make in the community," Stephanie O'Banion, President and CEO of the United Way of Central Texas.

She says her grandmother taught her this lesson: If you give a man a fish...He'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.

O'Banion keeps a picture on her wall as a reminder that the basic needs the United Way provides has a ripple effect on the community.

"These are definitely unprecedented times for all of us," said O'Banion.

The pandemic is a crisis that has not left anyone untouched.

In response, the United Way launched the COVID-19 fund, and it's 2-1-1 service gives even more people guidance for immediate help.

"I think it's very difficult for any individual to know exactly where all the resources are or what that individual might need but that 211 call specialist does know that and they'll get that individual connected properly," said Alan Stevens, chairman of the United Way of Central Texas board. "This community has always been a fantastic engaged community."

Central Texans can get help through United Way programs but they also help identify community organizations to partner with.

"We want to share with the community the great stories that we hear from our partner agencies," said Stevens.

The stories encourage them to work harder, and raise more money to provide more services to the community.

"What drew me to the United Way was the way they invest in the community and it's not just with the dollar. We need the dollar but it's about the people. United Way has a tremendous responsibility and role in building partnerships where we can all serve together and impact the most people in the most efficient way," Stevens said.

Most donations to the United Way are five dollars or less.

Every donation counts so if you'd like to give right now, text uwct covid to 41444.