By the Way...
On Thursday, February 13, 2020, at Mt. Hope Estate & Winery, we hosted our Faces of Impact Celebration Dinner, the first of what will become an annual event celebrating the impact of United Way investments within Lebanon County.
The evening began with approximately 150 attendees coming together to network and view the faces of impact posters that depict stories, statistics, and outcomes demonstrating local lives that have been changed by United Way and our grant-funded program partners. Guests then enjoyed dinner while the official event program began with welcome remarks given by event emcee, Ray Maillet of WLBR/WQIC. Ray thanked our event sponsors, UPMC Health Plan, Kreamer Funeral Home, and Members 1st Federal Credit Union, as well WellSpan Health and Penn State Health as our campaign sponsors.
Our CEO, Brooke Smith, then shared a story of how her passion for community impact work and advocacy for children stems from her first professional experience, working as a foster care case manager. Witnessing the struggle of the children and families she worked with inspired her to pursue a career that involved influencing systemic change. She also recognized two key board members with the Robert P. Hoffman Volunteer Excellence Award for their expertise and guidance through United Way’s leadership transition: Rick Scott and Ron Stohler. Next up, Brooke and campaign chairman, Greg Weaber of Cornwall Manor, awarded the campaign awards to the following businesses and individual who went above and beyond this year:
- Community Commitment Award: Cornwall Manor
- Employee Engagement Award: Henise Tire
- Employee Giving Award: APR Supply
- Award of Excellence: Butler BlueScope
- Campaign Cabinet MVP: Shaylene Scheib of the The Hill School
The most anticipated part of the evening was the announcement of the incentive prize winners:
- Year-long family membership to the YMCA: Theresa Binner, Ebersole
- Pizza-a -week for a year sponsored by Domino’s: Alane Reigel, Cornwall Lebanon School District
- Weber Grill sponsored by Martin Appliance: Dr. J. Byard Yoder, WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital
- Hersheypark 4-pack of season tickets including drink plans sponsored by Hershey Entertainment & Resorts: Chris Bui, Butler BlueScope
- $500 gift card (3) to Giant: Bill Allwein, Hershey Company; Betsy Bowman, Lebanon County Housing; Vonda Deveney, Cornwall Manor
- Choice Prize (2020 Harley Davidson Iron 883 from White’s Harley Davidson OR $2500 from Boscov’s and $5000 from Fulton Bank): Angela Bentz, HACC
- Grand prize – 2020 Hyundai Accent sponsored by Ebersole, Klick Lewis, and Ladd Hanford: Cindy Eisenhauer, WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital
At this point in the evening, Brooke Smith shared that the total raised during this year’s campaign to date was $1,408,955. She also shared the exciting news that Thomas Harlow, President of WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital, in partnership with his leadership team, will be serving as next year’s campaign chair(s). This team includes Stephanie Andreozzi, Kelly Smith, Patty Donley, Ginny Follet, Jeff Smith, and Bob Shaver. The evening concluded with closing remarks from Philip Domencic, United Way’s 2020 Board President.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Impact Celebration, all of the individuals and businesses who have donated to United Way, and all of the agencies who are doing the hard work to improve lives throughout Lebanon County.
WellSpan Health has been a long-time supporter of United Way of Lebanon County and all of our communities, but they stepped up for our 2019-2020 campaign as a lead marketing sponsor. Their support has been integral to ensuring we had materials for all of our workplace campaigns, among other things, which keeps even more of our community investors' money focused on making a real impact for Lebanon County residents. We're proud to announce that the leadership team at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital will be the chair for our next campaign season; Tom Harlow, Ginny Follet, Jeff Smith, Steph Andreozzi, Patty Donley, Bob Shaver, Kelly Smith. Thank you to the many WellSpan team members who have donated their time, talents, and money towards our community through the work of United Way!
Read Across America Day is a nationally recognized initiative, this year on March 2nd, that promotes reading for children. With early literacy being one of our priorities at United Way, we have partnered with Visit Lebanon Valley to make reading fun for kids throughout Lebanon County. We are seeking volunteers for the entire week beginning March 2nd to go into first grade classrooms to share the tale of "Lebanon Lilly," written by Jen Kuzo.
Sign up as a volunteer to read "Lebanon Lilly" for Read Across America. Help us get children excited to read and learn, as well as interested in visiting all of the great, local places that Lilly visits in the book. Please note that some volunteer shifts require completed background clearances to participate.
Want your own copy of the book? You can purchase "Lebanon Lilly" at any Lebanon County library or at Visit Lebanon Valley for $10. Proceeds go to our local libraries.
In September of 2019, we launched our Reading Friends volunteer program, which puts volunteers into our kindergarten through third grade classrooms regularly to help improve literacy skills and confidence for children. We already have 68 volunteers who have completed 424 volunteer shifts, and that’s just the beginning. We’re excited about this program and the impact it is having on both our children AND volunteers!
If you or someone you know are facing difficult times and don't know where to turn, you should know about 211. 211 is a free, confidential, 24/7 social service hotline powered by United Way. Community members can call 211 to get connected to a live resource specialist to gain access to non-emergency information and local resources for things like shelter, food pantries, utility assistance, or mental health services, for example. Resource specialists are available to answer callers in English and Spanish, in addition to having translation services for over 180 languages.
211 is available in the entire state of PA and also covers 95% of the United States. The system orginated in the Greater Atlanta area in 1997, but was first implemented in Lebanon County on January 1, 2017. Since its launch, 211 has received 6,752 inquiries for community resources from residents in Lebanon County. The top needs identified by callers in 2019 were housing assistance, utility assistance mental health/addictions services, income assistance, and food/meals. Women were 68% of the callers, and the largest user group was between the ages of 26-54.
You can access 211 through a variety of avenues:
- Call the number 211 (or 855.567.5341).
- Text your zip code to 898-211.
- Chat via the web, or search the online database at www.pa211east.org.
Organizations who wish to be listed as a resource within the database can view the exclusion/inclusion criteria on the website, in addition to accessing provider tools to enter their organization and services for approval.
The data that we are able to pull out of the 211 system can be valuable insight into what challenges our community members are facing by looking at the top caller needs, in addition to the documented unmet needs. A community dashboard of 211 data is available at https://211counts.org/home/index. UWLC has free materials we can provide to you at your church, school, business, etc. to help spread the word about this valuable resource to our community at large. We will be rolling out a new marketing awareness campaign for 2020.
Thank you to Lebanon County District Attorney’s office and Lebanon County Drug and Alcohol for their support of this program.
Questions about 211 in Lebanon County? Contact Brooke Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717.273.8144.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)
Lebanon County residents with a household income of $54,000 or less are eligible for free tax preparation services offered through the VITA program in Lebanon County at three different sites. IRS-certified trained volunteers will prepare taxes at no cost. Tax preparation sites this year are located at Lebanon Valley College, HACC Lebanon Campus, and Grace United Church of Christ. Appointments are required and filling up quickly, so please call Lebanon Valley College at 717-867-6054 for appointments at LVC. All other appointments, call Community Action at 717-273-9328.
Taxpayers should bring the following items to their tax preparation appointments:
Valid driver’s license or photo ID
All W-2 forms
Social Security Card or Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) for all members in your family
Address and tax identification of any child care provider
Copy of last year’s tax return
All 1099 forms (if applicable)
Account numbers for electronic deposit of refund
Health insurance documentation
If filing jointly, your spouse must be present.
If you anticipate a refund and want direct deposit, bring your bank account number and bank routing number. If you want VITA to e-file your PA tax return, please bring any information you received for your PA tax return. While VITA can’t e-file a local return, they can prepare it and make a copy. Bring your local tax form with you.
Filing a Simple Return? Do it Yourself Online for Free with MyFreeTaxes.
United Way has partnered with H&R Block on MyFreeTaxes.com. Any United Sates household filing a simple return can do so online for free! All you need to start filing is your W-2 form. If you have questions along the way, you can speak with IRS-Certified specialists (in English or Spanish) via chat or on the phone. Simple tax situations covered in MyFreeTaxes include:
Limited interest and dividend income reported on a 1099-INT or 1099-DIV
Student education expenses
Student education credits
Student loan interest
Claiming the standard deduction
Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
Child tax credits
Child and dependent care expenses
Mark your calendar now to join 1,000 of your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers for the region's largest one-day opportunity to improve Lebanon County together. Organizations are currently putting together their projects; volunteers can begin to sign up on March 2!
THANK YOU TO OUR 2020 DAY OF CARING SPONSORS!
Questions about Day of Caring? Contact Flame Vo at email@example.com or 717.273.8144.
Questions or comments about our newsletter? Contact Flame Vo, Director of Marketing & Communications.