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Coshocton County United Way celebrates 80 years of helping local families

| September 15, 2020

United Way of Coshocton celebrated 80 years of serving the community on Sept. 14. Senator Jay Hottinger and Tim Ross, from Congressman Bob Gibbs’ office presented the agency with proclamations. (Jen Jones)

Tim Ross, from Congressman Bob Gibbs’ office, is pictured with United Way Board President Steve Oster. (Jen Jones)

In 1940, the Community Chest was formed with Guy Clow as the chairman. There were seven charter agencies that included Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Salvation Army, YWCA, Hospital Auxiliary, Christmas Basket Fund and summer band concerts. The goal was to raise $16,180 to cover the entire operating budgets of those seven agencies. The community stepped up and that goal was reached in one week.

One year later, Coshocton City Recreation was added and, in 1951, West Lafayette (Ridgewood) Recreation was also added. The Community Chest became affiliated with the United Way of America in 1970. The average per capita gift was $3.17 in 1972. Today, it is $113.90.

It was incorporated as the United Way of Coshocton County, Inc. in 1980 with the mission: “Comfort the children, soothe the troubled and give strength to the weak and helpless.” Their mission was changed to “Unite neighbors and resources to positively impact lives in Coshocton County” in 2015 and to date, the United Way of Coshocton has raised more than $12 million for their charitable programs.

Senator Jay Hottinger is pictured with Lyn Mizer, director of United Way. (Jen Jones)

Senator Jay Hottinger presented a proclamation to the United Way. “I am very familiar with the United Way and understand all the work you do to serve the community.” He said there are great needs in all communities and that United Way served and supported thousands of families over the last 80 years. “Every time you are able to change a life, it ripples.” Hottinger also said that he grew up as an at-risk youth and that youth services mean a lot to him.

“I just want to say thank you to the staff and the volunteer board. You really make a difference in the community. I wish you much success in the next 80 years,” Hottinger said.

Tim Ross, from Congressman Bob Gibbs’ office, also had a proclamation to present. He said when people call the congressman’s office for help their office often calls the United Way in the county to see what local resources they may have to offer. “Your work is a work of love. It’s all about helping people.”

Erin Slaughter, executive assistant for United Way, said, “Many people don’t understand how far the money goes. Until I started working here, I had no idea of the magnitude of services United Way offers. Every donation helps so many programs right here in Coshocton. The board is a big piece of why the United Way has been around for so long.”

United Way Board President Steve Oster said the impact that United Way has on the community is impossible to measure. “We support so many causes that need funds. The majority of our money comes from local donations. We have a great group of volunteers and the board is very diverse, from retired people to educators to business people, and they all want to give back to the community.”

Oster wants to encourage everyone to go to United Way’s new website (coshoctonunitedway.org) to see what agencies are supported. “There is a huge variety of agencies. We pull people together to give back.”

Lyn Mizer, director of United Way, said their funds all come from local people and businesses. “The donations stay here. We support locally to improve locally. There are so many agencies in Coshocton that help people and luckily, we work well together and there isn’t an overlap in services. This helps all of us more efficiently make a difference right here.”

“Your donations help people learn to stand on their own feet – to empower people, to encourage people.”

A donation to United Way of Coshocton County supports these programs: American Red Cross, Boy Scouts, CARES, First Step, Handicapped Society, Maternal and Child Health, Rising Tide, Kids America/City Recreation, Ridgewood Recreation, Girl Scouts, River View East, River View West and the Salvation Army. Your donations stay local and support our community.

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