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This time of year seems appropriate to acknowledge the generosity of a couple of organizations in our community that have gone above and beyond in demonstrating what it means to "Live United."

When organizations like these step up and work so hard to provide support for our families, it gives me real hope that our community will come together and ensure our families, children and seniors don’t just survive but thrive.

Attorney Kenneth J. Allen and his wife. Nina, donated 1,000 Thanksgiving dinners to families in Lake and Porter County for the holiday. The dinners included a turkey, potatoes, green beans and a pie. Lake Area United Way and United Way of Porter County were fortunate to partner with the Allens by identifying the families in need and organizing the distribution of the meals through the Wicker Park Social Center in Highland and the Boys and Girls Club in South Haven. For the past several years, the Allens also have donated $30,000 in gift cards to help parents in need purchase Christmas gifts for their children.

BP Whiting Refinery has been a top donor to Lake Area United Way, helping thousands of struggling local families through its annual employee giving campaign. This year was no exception. A committee of employees came together, determined to exceed their fundraising goal with more than 90 presentations to employees, a hot dog sale and various activities throughout the plant.

They not only increased the overall dollar amount of employee pledges, but they also increased the total number of individual donors, leadership givers and increased gifts. With that, the BP Refinery matches all dollars pledged by employees, and this year their efforts led to an additional $15,000 matching grant for LAUW provided by the Indiana Association of United Ways.

Your local United Ways are extremely grateful for the partnerships we have with so many local organizations who care so much for the community in which they operate. With their support, we are improving lives in very meaningful ways.

Children and youth are attending safe, high-quality after-school programs, basic needs assistance is provided in times of emergency, new moms and dads receive counseling on how to be effective parents, residents can find resources via 2-1-1, homeless families receive shelter, children and adults with special needs receive quality care, children participate in STEM programming, individuals receive legal aid and women and children are protected from violent abusers and receive shelter.

Thank you, Ken Allen, BP and all the individuals and organizations who support our local United Way! We are just starting to receive results of this year’s workplace campaigns. Stay tuned for so many more generous examples of organizations supporting your community.

Lisa Daugherty is CEO of Lake Area United Way. The opinions are the writer's.

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