United Way poised to reach goal

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


The annual United Way of Wilson County fundraising campaign is still underway, and the campaign cabinet and volunteers celebrated the agency’s success in raising more than $880,000 so far during a Wednesday report luncheon at the Wilson County Agriculture Center.

“We are standing up for a stronger community,” said Matt Whitley, president of the United Way of Wilson County’s board of directors. “United Way is making a difference.”

Whitley said volunteers bring excitement and enthusiasm each year as they raise money for Wilson agencies that serve those who need help the most.

Nancy Sallenger, executive director of the Wilson Crisis Center, a United Way agency, pumped up the crowd of volunteers Wednesday. She was dressed in an Energizer bunny outfit.

“You are making it possible for United Way to help the community,” Sallenger said. “One penny makes a difference.”

She added that it’s a united effort.

“We are a community just filled with treasures,” she said. “We do not enable people. We lift people up.”

The money raised goes toward 25 agencies in Wilson.

“They are doing great work every day, all day long,” said Judi Thurston, the United Way of Wilson County’s executive director. “They are working 24/7 to help people in need to make this community stronger.”

Leaders say those needs couldn’t be met without the generosity of various businesses, corporations, local government agencies and individuals who pledge donations each year.


Reports were presented by cabinet leaders in several divisions, including major firms, commercial accounts, professionals, health care, physicians and special gifts. Many divisions will continue to collect donations, and some have already exceeded their goals for the year. Several other campaigns are just getting started.

“This campaign is off to a tremendous start,” said Norm Osborn, campaign chairman. “We still have a lot to accomplish.”

The United Way of Wilson County accepts donations until the end of the year. Thurston said the agency has done really well with the campaign despite some delays as a result of the hurricanes. She said organizers anticipate to exceed last year’s $1.2 million total.

Bridgestone and BB&T alone have already raised more than $400,000 each.

“We need you to continue to be the voice for the thousands who are served in this community because of the United Way,” Osborn said.

He also said the United Way is able to provide programs that influence lives and create hope in times of despair.