Lee County Strong
There are certain days, dates, and times that you always remember. Perhaps you can remember where you were on November 22, 1963 when you learned that President Kennedy had been shot. We can all remember where we were on 9/11, and for those of us in Lee County, we will forever remember the tornado tragedy of March 3, 2019. As United Way staff watched this disaster unfold over the television that afternoon, we began making plans to fulfill our disaster responsibilities. Though we had all trained for our specific roles in a disaster, this was larger than we had dealt with before, and it was personal. We all had a connection or knew someone involved. We knew that all our training and planning was about to be put to the test.

United Way is responsible for setting up and running a Volunteer Reception Center under EMA’s direction when disasters occur. We also assist with helping to organize volunteer agencies at the EMA Emergency Operations Center and making 2-1-1 available for disaster resources and coordination of the needs of survivors and volunteers. Just like every other disaster resource in Lee County, our staff of three was stretched thin but, in the midst of such tragedy we saw the outpouring of so much love for our community. Sister organizations like the United Way of Central Alabama, United Way of Etowah County, United Way of East Central Alabama, and United Way of Chattahoochee Valley stepped up by making donations, sending manpower, and helping to quickly set up a structure to receive donations for the long term recovery. Churches, businesses, and nonprofits from all over the nation reached out to see how they could help. 
As we have been told from day one, with disasters like this, it’s a marathon not a sprint, and we are prepared to stand alongside those impacted by these tornados as they reach a new normal. We have received $295,913 specifically designated to help survivors in the long-term recovery process. United Way is an active member of Mend, the entity acting as the long term recovery committee. We are assisting with the case management process through Mend and plan to continue to serve through the Mend Steering Committee and Funding Committee. Though we have seen difficult days in the past few months, United Way will continue to work to serve those with needs in Lee County. We are immensely appreciative for the support from businesses, agencies, and volunteers who have trusted us with their time and donations. You are truly leaving a lasting impact as we help to rebuild Lee County.
Meet the Campaign Chair:
Rod Cater
United Way is excited to introduce our 2020 Campaign Chair, Rod Cater. Rod is the Business Office Manager for Alabama Power Company in Auburn, Tallassee and Union Springs. He is the Chair Elect of the Board for the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and a board member for the City of Auburn Industrial Development Board. Rod was also the 2019 Event Chair for East, Central Alabama for Central Alabama Works Career Discovery Expo. Rod has served outside of Lee County as a board member and 2019 Chair of the Golf Fundraiser for the Tallassee Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the Tallassee Community Development Corp.

Rod has been on the Board of Directors for United Way of Lee County since 2017. He has served on the Site Visit Team and Allocation Committee for the past two years. He has been a valuable volunteer for Stuff the Bus School Supply Drive distribution for the past two years and has served on the Stuff the Bus Committee.

Rod is married to Jennifer who is a speech pathologist, and they have two children. His daughter, Borden, is a nurse at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, and his son, Jack, is a student at the University of Alabama. 
Stuff the Bus
United Way is already gearing up for Stuff the Bus! This is our annual school supply drive and distribution, which benefits children attending Auburn City, Lee County and Opelika City schools. We will kick-off Stuff the Bus on July 9 th, and we will have our community wide collection day at Auburn Walmart on July 13 th

How Can You Help?

  • Volunteer for the collection day at Auburn Walmart on July 13th.
  • Donate supplies through our Amazon wish list by clicking here.
  • Donate supplies at one of our collection locations during the month of July.

For more information visit our website, or contact Chandler Williams at chandler@unitedwayofleecounty.com or 334.745.5540.