United Way funding “validates” ARM as agency

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Assistance Resource Ministries has been helping to meet the needs of Carter County residents for more than 20 years.
The agency is able to provide rent, utility, food and clothing assistance to people in need thanks to the funding they receive from the Elizabethton/Carter County United Way, ARM Director Nikki Jones said.
Almost 30 percent of ARM’s operating budget comes from the United Way designation, Jones said.
The agency puts the money into the general operating fund to help cover the day-to-day costs associated with running the nonprofit, along with providing for the emergency assistance and purchasing food from local food banks to be distributed to clients.
The United Way funding helps mark the agency as one that can provide assistance, ARM board treasurer Scott Reynolds said.
“The United Way funding helps validate us as an agency,” Reynolds said. “It helps identify who we are. There are so many things we can do to help.”
ARM is fortunate to have funding coming from different sources, Reynolds said, but because many of those sources are donations, ARM can end up with shortfalls from time to time.
“We are fortunate that we don’t have all of our eggs in one basket,” Reynolds said. “We have different donations that come in, but it is all subject to the economy. People don’t have the donations to give when the economy is bad, but there are still people who are hungry. There are people who need clothes and help with the rent and utilities.”
Jones described ARM’s partnership with the United Way as “multifaceted.” Not only does the United Way provide funding, but the agency provides connections that are beneficial to ARM.
“Aside from the money, the partnership also provides us with contact at other agencies that we can direct people to for assistance if we can’t provide it,” Jones said. “It also helps us recruit volunteers. People come to the United Way looking for opportunities to get involved.”
Reynolds agreed that working with the United Way is key for agencies to be able to provide the best services to the clients.
“Unfortunately, we cannot be the answer to everyone’s needs,” he said. “It takes a whole group of agencies to meet them and the United Way helps make that happen. All the agencies work together as a puzzle, and the United Way is the corner piece.”
ARM operates on a minimal budget, Jones said, and would be severely hurt if the funding from the United Way was lost.
“If we lost their funding, at 29.7 percent of our budget, we would cease to exist as we are now,” Jones said. “We could probably function as a basic food pantry, and we would struggle with that. It would be hard. I don’t know what we would do if we lost the United Way. It scares me. To think of all the agencies that rely on them for funding and to possibly lose it, that would really hurt the county.”
ARM is one of nine agencies that receive funding from the United Way. For more information, contact the United Way at 543-6975 or ARM at 542-0919.

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