PICKENS COUNTY — Well-spoken, well-dressed, dynamic, businesswoman Lisabeth Saunders is straight forward about services of aid agencies not being just “some kinds of people.”
“They could be for any of you,” she told a roomful of business and community leaders gathered at Southern Wesleyan University for the kick off of the 2014 fund raising campaign for the United Way of Pickens County Thursday.
The local United Way helps fund agencies like Meals on Wheels, Miracle Hill Children’s Home, Golden Harvest Food Bank, Samaritan Health Clinic and a dozen more.
“You’re thinking this is for certain people, maybe they’re lazy,” Saunders said. “You’re thinking they are people of color. I’m just going to put it out there.”
The users of aid services funded through the United Way can be from any walk of life, with any amount of motivation, education or wealth, she said.
She knows. She has been one of the users of the services. And she was glad the services were available when she needed them. She believes they helped turn her life around after the accident.
“One day I was doing great. The next day I wasn’t,” she said. “I was a single mother of a 4-year-old, owned my own business.”
Then she had an accident that left her blind. She continues sight impaired.
“I didn’t have a bit of health insurance the day I went into the hospital,” Saunders said. “In that first month I’m sure I went through $150,000. I’m telling you. When something like that happens, it (the money) goes just like that,” she said snapping her fingers.
Saunders has served as an adviser to United Way organizations across the state prior to her accident.
She and Julie Capaldi, the executive director of the United Way of Pickens County, described how she had used business skills to help turn around the financial direction of he local organization 15 years ago.
She described ways she believed United Way Agencies helped her continue and recover, get back on her feet and help her daughter through school in the years after her accident.
“Anybody could have some bad thing that happens that puts you on the other side (of success),” she said.
She sees giving to the United Way as an investment against the bad things that might happen. “It could be you or one of your employees. That could affect your bottom line,” she said to the business mangers.
Because of the resources like the United Way, incidents such as her’s don’t have to be a tragedy. “They sure as hell don’t have to be a tragedy for years,” she said.
“Most people want to be successful and do good and help others,” she said.