VALDOSTA – Six agencies in Lowndes County saw an increase in their funding this week thanks to the partnership of Georgia Power and the Greater Valdosta United Way.

The nonprofits were already benefitting from an increase in allocations due to the United Way exceeding its campaign goal recently, but linking with Georgia Power has allotted them an additional $30,000.

Some of the agencies have expressed a need as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread rampantly through the county and the region, said Michael Smith United Way executive director. 

“They all have had extra expenses between having to feed people and buying sanitizing and cleaning supplies,” he said. “Their daily operations have increased dramatically, so we’re glad to give them some extra support.”

The money will be split between the Second Harvest of South Georgia, Lowndes Associated Ministries to People, the Salvation Army, American Red Cross of South Georgia, The Haven and Living Bridges Ministry.  

“I am grateful to Georgia Power and United Way for their generosity to the American Red Cross of South Georgia for this surprise donation,” said Terri Jenkins, agency executive director. “These funds will assist us in delivering our mission at this critical time.” 

Funding came from both the Georgia Power Foundation and the United Way, said Joe Brownlee, regional director for Georgia Power. 

Georgia Power gave $20,000 while the United Way donated $10,000, he said. 

The partnership with Smith came easily for the pair, Brownlee said. 

“We’re trying to do what we can do to help those that are hurting most right now and we know it’s only going to get worse,” he said.

Smith said the United Way is aiming to provide assistance to not only the agencies but also the community as a need persists.

His nonprofit is gathering cleaning supplies and is seeking products for children such as jump ropes, diapers, wipes, basketballs and coloring books. 

“We’re just kind of helping individuals and businesses to help how they can because we’re all in this together, and we all have to come together as a community and as South Georgia for us to grow and survive,” Smith said. 

Embracing its motto, “A Citizen Wherever We Serve,” the Georgia Power Foundation is distributing $1 million statewide.

Regionally, there are plans to give an additional $20,000 to agencies in more than 30 counties that help with food insufficiency, homelessness and women who’ve been abused, Brownlee said.

Anyone wanting to donate through the United Way can do so by texting GVUW2020 to 44321.

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