By Jonathan Williams
Times West Virginian
In Marion County, the United Way sponsors 21 distinct agencies. There are countless others, each representing a tremendous need in the community.
The Connecting Link of Marion County, a United Way member agency, provides referral services and emergency assistance for people in crisis situations, aiming to be, as its slogan says, a first resource rather than a last resort.
“We have to do something in the community and join our forces together as agencies to attempt to make a difference in more of these people’s lives,” said Executive Director Jone Webb, and she believes the Connecting Link is making a difference in that area.
The agency started out “in a church basement,” she said, a partnership between the Greater Fairmont Council of Churches and the United Way to better provide services between the different agencies in Marion County.
Today, the Connecting Link serves Marion, Monongalia and Preston counties and works with West Virginia 211 to provide up-to-date resource information in Marion, Monongalia, Preston and Taylor counties.
In addition to their referral services, the Connecting Link helps people with utility terminations, eviction notices, prescription medications and other seemingly little things that turn into big problems when you lose your job or are hit with unexpected bills. It also assists with transportation and budget counseling where necessary.
“I came here as a volunteer many years ago,” Webb said, adding that she’s stayed with the agency because she believes very strongly in its mission.
“We’re not helping individuals on a monthly basis — we’re helping individuals at a crisis need,” she said.