The United Way of Florence County was honored to be able to award a check of $2,000 to the Palmetto Amputee Network on Friday, November 8, 2019.

“The Palmetto Amputee Network is a great example of a local non-profit agency making a big impact on a need that many people don’t realize is there in our community,” said Kevin Russell, United Way of Florence County president. “After we learned about the work the agency was doing for the amputees in our area, we knew we wanted to work with them and help them further this mission.”

The Palmetto Amputee Network is an all-volunteer organization that aims to empower amputees through networking, education, counseling, and other assistance to meet their needs. The agency begins to provide support immediately following a new amputee’s discharge from the hospital and continues to be an on-going resource to all amputees in the area.

Angel O’Brien, the executive director for the Palmetto Amputee Network, said the funds from the UWFC will be used primarily for the agency’s annual Christmas party for local amputees. She explained that the holidays can be a hard time for many amputees because limb loss often results in job loss and many of the medical supplies that amputees require can be very costly. The agency hopes to use the UWFC funds to not only gift these medical supplies to the amputees, but to also be able to provide gift for the amputees’ children. They will also use the funds for the party itself; which was started because many amputees can suffer from depression and isolation, and social gatherings like the party encourage them to come out and meet others like themselves.

“This will be our third Christmas event and it is extremely important to local amputees and their families,” said O’Brien. “Through this event and our other efforts, they have come to realize that they are important to this community and that they are not alone.”

The funding awarded to the Palmetto Amputee Network was part of the funds raised by the UWFC during their 2018-2019 campaign year. During the allocation process for that campaign, the UWFC’s Community Investment Committee (CIC) elected to keep close to $10,000 of the available funding in reserves in case the community was impacted by a natural disaster, or if any agencies applied for funding outside the CIC process. The Palmetto Amputee Network is the first agency to receive funding from the reserves, but the committee hopes to continue to award other local non-profits in the coming months.