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Southern Miss Custodial Staff Make United Way Gift to Shafer Center

Thu, 11/18/2010 - 09:08am | By: David Tisdale

Members of The University of Southern Mississippi's custodial staff are heeding the call of the United Way to Live United.

The Southern Miss employees recently joined to designate their donation, totaling nearly $200, to the university's United Way Campaign in support of the Shafer Center for Crisis Intervention. Faculty, staff and students contributing to the campus campaign may designate their donation to a specific United Way-supported agency or 501(c) 3 entity.

Patricia McFarland and Mary Ann Griffin, who serve as United Way team captains for the custodial staff, coordinated the donation after learning that a co-worker's family member had been a victim of violence. The Shafer Center ( provides support services to victims of sexual violence, child sexual abuse, and co-victims of violent death, including homicide and suicide in an 11-county area.

“Our staff is like a big family, and we try to help each other,” McFarland said. “We're doing this from the heart.”

McFarland also organizes fund raising drives among custodial staff for other charitable causes, including for orphanages during the holidays and fundraisers for breast cancer awareness and research. “She's (McFarland) the one who rallies everyone here to help when she sees a need,” Griffin said. “When she gets everyone motivated, it's on.”

The university's annual United Way campaign supports the United Way of Southeast Mississippi's overall campaign goal of $1.6 million, enabling the organization to fund 21 local partner agencies and its own programs in Forrest, Lamar and Perry counties. These agencies include those with educational, health, financial stability and support service goals providing critical services to people needing various types of assistance. 

“This is just amazing. We're so grateful for this donation, and it says a lot about the Southern Miss custodial staff that they would reach out to help and support a co-worker coping with tragedy,” said Kim Newell, director of the Shafer Center. 

Two other United Way agencies are located on the Southern Miss campus, including the DuBard School for Language Disorders ( and the Children's Center for Communication and Development (

This year, the Southern Miss United Way Care Team includes representatives across campus. Contact one of these representatives in your area to obtain a United Way pledge card, or contact Kameron Dale in the Department of Human Resources at 601.266.4050 or e-mail kameron.daleFREEMississippifor more information. Pledge cards can be sent through campus mail to Kameron Dale, Box 5111.

With the pledge card, Southern Miss employees and students can make a donation of any amount and take advantage of the convenient payroll deduction option as a way to participate in the campaign. Donors may designate their financial pledge for a specific agency or 501(c) 3 entity. 

There is no minimum on a payroll deduction. For those paid biweekly, the deduction will come out of the second check each month. One-time donations by cash or check can also be made. For those who already have a payroll deduction for United Way and want it to continue, it will remain in place for the current campaign without need for submission of a new pledge card.

 For more information about the United Way of Southeast Mississippi, online visit