New “Give Hope” campaign will support outreach efforts in the agency's six-county coverage area

The United Way of the Mark Twain Area announced the $425,000 goal for the 2019-2020 “Give Hope” campaign and a new initiative to help keep youth from using drugs Tuesday at the Hannibal YMCA.

United Way selected 20 agencies in Lewis, Marion, Monroe, Ralls and Shelby counties to receive funds from the “Give Hope” campaign. Campaign chair Justin Gibson commended each of the agencies selected, including two community organizations who received Venture Grants — Birthday Blessings and Friends of the Monroe City Library. A representative from each United Way partner organization spoke about how funding makes their efforts possible. A surprise was unveiled with the goal of keeping youth from using drugs.

Continental Cement and Green America Recycling Plant Manager Matt Helms presented a $25,000 check to the United Way of the Mark Twain Area with the goal of establishing a program to prevent substance abuse for area youth. Executive Director Denise Damron said an application period will be open July 1 to Oct. 15 for nonprofit organizations to present their plan for a youth substance abuse prevention program. Committee members will select the winning organization at the end of 2019.

“This is a great community,” Helms said. “However, the future of the community continues to be negatively impacted by the growing use of drugs. At Continental Cement and Green America Recycling, we recognize the great people and organizations in our community that are battling this problem, and we want to do our part in this fight through funding a new project focused on preventing young people — the next generation — from making the choice to use drugs.”

Organizations that received funding from the “Give Hope” Campaign were: Avenues, Douglass Community Services, Families and Communities Together (F.A.C.T.), Forget Me Not Senior Center, Hannibal Alliance for Youth Success (HAYS), Hannibal Free Clinic, Hannibal Parents as Teachers, Heartland Resources, Legal Services of Missouri, Learning Opportunities, Quality Works, Monroe City Food Bank, Monroe City Senior Nutrition Center, Monroe City Student Success Center, NECAC, Paris Senior Center, Shelby County Senior Citizens Association, The Child Center, The Salvation Army and the YMCA. Gibson said he kept thinking about “hope” in relation to the 2019-2020 Campaign Goal. He said the Bible's story of Noah’s ark solidified his decision.

“My hope for the 2019-2020 United Way Campaign is to bring more awareness to the agencies that will benefit from the campaign,” he said. “Through United Way, individuals can donate their time, talents or treasures to make our community a better place to live for everybody.”

The United Way of the Mark Twain Area will host a formal kick off event for this year's campaign Sept. 5 at the Rialto Banquet Center. For more information or questions about how to get involved, visit the United Way's website