The COVID-19 Community Response Fund, hosted by the Athens Area Community Foundation in partnership with United Way of Northeast Georgia, has deployed its first round of funds to nonprofits serving Northeast Georgia.

This first phase will distribute $40,000 to 18 local nonprofits that are providing food access and distribution to those impacted by the pandemic. Two of the Oconee-based nonprofits are Area Churches Together Serving and Oconee Area Resource Council.

“With supply chain disruption, financial distress and health concerns, accessibility to affordable food is increasing for many of our regional residents,” said United Way of Northeast Georgia President Kay Keller. “Those organizations that are providing emergency food distribution and access are critical at this time to ensure our neighbors are being fed.”

A second phase of funds will soon be distributed. Anyone can help by making a donation to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund at athensareacf.org.

“We are so thankful for the philanthropic spirit of Northeast Georgia,” said Sarah McKinney, president of the Athens Area Community Foundation. “The opportunity for us to distribute this first phase of funds continues to show the amazing culture of giving within our community.”

Credit union donates 

Peach State Federal Credit Union has donated $25,000 to local food banks to assist with the increased need due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In Oconee County, Area Churches Together Serving and the University of North Georgia’s Nigel’s Nest Food Pantry each received $2,500.

“We understand that hunger doesn’t just happen during the holidays, and that’s why we began this initiative,” said CEO Marshall Boutwell. “As more and more people find themselves unemployed during these uncertain times, the issue of food insecurity becomes of greater importance.”

EMC boosts literacy

Walton EMC’s Operation Round Up, in which unclaimed capital credits are used to help area nonprofits, provided $131,770 to various organizations this year. About $4,550 went to the United Way of Northeast Georgia’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which provides books for children from birth to age five.

“During times like these, the generosity of Operation Round Up is more important than ever,” said CEO Ronnie Lee.

 Family business thrives

Jessica Webber has assumed leadership of Watkinsville family business Webber Coleman Woodworks. Her father, Dan Webber, has transitioned into a supportive role.

Webber Coleman Woodworks specializes in custom cabinetry for residential and commercial applications.

The business showroom and shop are housed together in an industrial park off of Morrison Street. Currently, Webber Coleman Woodworks has 22 full-time employees.

Jessica is a certified kitchen and bath designer and is known around town as “The Cabinet Lady.”

 “I was involved in the business with my siblings when growing up, sweeping floors, cleaning the office and making drawer boxes,” Jessica said, adding that she has worked full time with her father for the last 18 years. “It’s truly a joy to work in a family business.” 

Dan added, “I am pleased to see the business and legacy I began continue on with the next generation.”

For more on this story, see the April 23 edition of The Oconee Enterprise, on sale now at convenience stores and grocery stores and newspaper boxes throughout Oconee County. To subscribe, call (706) 769-5175 or visit the tab on our website. 

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