LAURINBURG — Children participating in the youth football program through Scotland County Parks and Recreation will get new and improved helmets thanks to a grant from United Way of Scotland County.
The $6,500 grant was part of an approximately $70,000 anonymous donation the United Way received in May that allowed Parks and Recreation to purchase 85 new football helmets.
“We’re not just looking to hand out money, we’re trying to find what’s a good use for it in the community,” said Tommy Brigman, a United Way board member. “With this anonymous grant, we set up a smaller board and we’ve had people come to us, like parks and recreation, and ask us for the money for the helmets. We decided this would be a good project to help out with.”
Agencies and community organizations submit bids to the United Way board explaining how much money is needed and what it will be used for. The board makes a recommendation on how much each cause should receive.
Scotland County Parks and Recreation put its bid in several months ago in the hopes of being able to replace some of the aging helmets that were being used by the youth football program. The grant allowed them to purchase 85 helmets in different sizes for children ages 9 to 12.
“We just phased out the helmets that were over 10 years old and they will be replaced by the new helmets that we just purchased,” said Bryan Graham, Scotland County Parks and Recreation director. “We do have helmets that were purchased a few years ago that are still usable. The newer ones are just a little bit better technology. We want to put every child in a safe environment. We’re not putting equipment on kids that’s not functional.”
Day of Caring
The anonymous grant that United Way received is separate from the annual funds that the nonprofit gives to 19 agencies in Scotland County.
The organization’s annual campaign for those funds begins today with the Day of Caring. The goal is to raise $265,000.
The Day of Caring kickoff will take place today in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce Beautification Day. Events will start with breakfast at 8 a.m. at the Laurinburg Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 600 W. Church St.
United Way Executive Director Debbie Grant said along with all of the projects United Way has planned, it will also help the chamber plant trees in the Hillside Cemetery.
“As part of the chamber’s Beautification Day, we will be planting trees at Hillside,” Grant said. “There used to be a baseball field there, but it was torn down so we are planting the trees as a buffer for the mobile home park. I have about 40 people signed up for that project.”
United Way expects to have between 150 and 200 volunteers for the day. The other major project United Way will be working on is building three outdoor storage sheds in the parking lot of the Scotland County Habitat for Humanity.
“Normally we have three teams work on building a Habitat Home, but the woman who was supposed to receive the home passed away,” said Grant. “So instead our three teams — Campbell’s Soup, Smithfield Foods and Scotland Healthcare — will be building the storage sheds. It’s turned into sort of an athletic event, they are all so competitive.”
Once the sheds are complete Grant believes they will be donated to Habitat home owners. Having so many volunteers and so much community support is overwhelming to Grant — in a good way.
The Day of Caring not only helps those served by the agencies supported by United Way, it also shows volunteers what opportunities there are to serve others, according to Grant.
“This shows that people do care in our community,” she said. “Getting that fellowship from working together at teams. I had a lot of people tell me, ‘I enjoy doing it because I met so many new people I didn’t know before.’”
The campaign will run through December.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.