Today on Conversations with Cassie. I was delighted to sit and talk with Carol Berry with United Way. I was able to learn a little about who she is and the role she plays at United Way.  

Carol attended college at Wallace State, adding that she has never been anywhere else but Cullman and speaking about how much she loves this community. 

As a community-based organization, United Way reflects on what their community is, they are funded by individuals that give to them, either on their own or through their paycheck. They have industries that allow their employees to give to them. School systems, such as teachers and principals, county government, and city government that sponsor us by donating money from their personal paychecks. Corporate demonstrates perfect partnership with United way by hosting big events and fundraising money to fund special projects.

Carol has told me that United Way does several different things, but their main goal is to promote the common good in their community. United Way has 3 pillars consisting of education, financial stability, and the health of the community, whether it would be physical or mental health.

United Way provides the following services: American Red Cross, 4-H Clubs, Commission of Aging, Cullman Caring for Kids, and the Center of the Developmentally Disables. 4-H clubs’ goal is to help children grow into leaders in the community. Commission on Aging provides every homebound meal in Cullman County. Cullman Caring for Kids is our local food bank. Center of the Developmentally Disabled which is the largest agency that we fund.

People can get help from United Way by contacting the number, 2-1-1, which is another service they provide where someone could get the information, they need such as housing, shelters, food banks, etc.

When it comes to the best part about working at United Way, Carol states that she loves serving the community of Cullman. Carol explained that she began a nonprofit earlier in her life however, she stepped away from the business to run for a political office. She later decided that she wanted to return to the nonprofit. Mrs. Berry stated that giving to United Way allows you to give to more than just one organization. The example she gave was that if she just gave her money to Cullman Caring for Kids, it would be the only organization she funded; but, if she were to donate to United Way, the money is dispersed to many different organizations in the Cullman community.

There is no typical day at United Way which Carol states is beneficial because she has several opportunities to participate in things such as interviews, youth group meetings, unloading/loading boxes for the community, etc

 For any individual who wishes to find jobs at United Way can go to their website and use the search engine or follow the tabs to your desired interest. The workers only work part time; however, they are volunteer driven at United Way. Carol stated that the volunteers play a major role in the business and they would not be as successful as they are without the volunteers.

United Way has an allocations board, which means they pull individuals from within the community, such as accountants and teachers, and ask them to come in. Every agency that Carol has mentioned has to turn in their financial statements quarterly to United Way. Their overhead cannot be but a certain amount. They must know that when the money they are raising is given to those individuals is going back out into the community.

If businesses would like to get involved, they can go on their website, or call the number, 256-739-2948.

I have asked how Covid-19 has affected people in need. Carol replies by stating that the number of call volumes has increased. When individuals call the 2-1-1 number, we can see what community they are calling from. Carol stated that most calls that they receive come from the community of Holly Pond, which is where the highest unemployment raid is.

Carol believes that the key factor to make a difference in young individuals lives in Cullman is education and financial stability. Encouraging the individuals to further their education and be as involved in the community as they can is very important. Carol believes that Cullman is tremendously lacking

non-profit healthcare facilities. Individuals with poor mental health should have access to proper resources and support for their needs.

That concludes the discussion on Conversation with Cassie. I enjoyed getting to know Carol and her roles at United Way. I love that they do what they can to make a difference in the community especially during hard times.