United Ministries fundraiser will feature author Bryan Stevenson

United Ministries‘annual Unite for change the event hasn’t been held in person for two years, so it’s no surprise that this year’s annual luncheon sold out.

“The Greenville community has been generous – people have been very responsive (to the needs of the community),” said general manager Lizzie Bebber. She said those who missed the opportunity to register for the lunch will still be able to participate in the April 13 event via the virtual lunch at united-ministries.org.

Each year, she said, the organization seeks to bring in a writer, expert and leader to speak at the luncheon. This year will feature Bryan Stevenson, lawyer and activist, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Bebber said the lunch will contribute to the organization’s $2.9 million annual budget while expanding key values ​​of compassion, justice, humanity and love.

United Ministries serves 4,000 to 5,000 people in the Greenville area each year, 90 percent of whom live in poverty, Bebber said. The interfaith organization’s original focus 52 years ago was to help families with utilities, food and rent, but its reach has expanded to help those in need of a GED, find a job and apply for assistance programs.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect upstate and United Ministries will continue to help.

“We will have to come forward and meet the needs of those affected,” Bebber said.

The 1,600 ticket holders will gather at the Greenville Convention Center, and a number of local sponsors, such as Greenville Drive, Community Foundation of Greenville and Michelin, among many others, have joined the group.

United Ministries in numbers

  • 1,743 families received food
  • 195 people received rent assistance
  • 559 people received support for public services
  • 793 individuals received showers, laundry and other services
  • 12 people were permanently housed
  • 26 students have earned their GED
  • 135 new students joined the adult education program
  • 163 found new jobs
  • 71 people received mental health counseling
  • 189 people received financial coaching
  • 48 people participated in our matched savings program
  • 17 people have received technical vocational training

Lola R. McClure