East Texas Non-Profits Suffer With Goodyear Plant Closure - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

10/31/06-Tyler

East Texas Non-Profits Suffer With Goodyear Plant Closure

For the last 40 years, Goodyear employees like Gregory Ford, have donated part of their paycheck to the United Way.

"My contribution is defined as 'my fair share' and 'my fair share' is an hour's pay per week. So, I pay $28 a week to the United Way," says Ford.

That money adds up, getting filtered to 25 United Way partner agencies like Goodwill, the Bethesda Health Clinic, and the YMCA of Tyler.

Jason Holmes is the president and CPO of the United Way.

He says, "Everything from early child care to helping the elderly... It [the United Way] affects the full spectrum of our community."

The United Way's campaign goal this year is 2.38 million dollars. So far, they've raised nearly ten percent of that. United Way officials say if the Goodyear plant goes away, so will nearly all of that money.

"For us they have always represented about 7 percent of our campaign. 135 thousand dollars a year. So, they've meant millions of dollars to our community when it comes to health and human services and charitable giving when it comes to the United Way," says Holmes.

P.A.T.H. Director Christina Fulsom says some Goodyear employees have already come in needing help. She anticipates the need will grow once the plant closes, and worries donations will go down once the local economy begins to feel the loss.

"We believe the bulk of the need is going to come to us in about three or four months. There's a possibility that we may not be able to meet all of those needs.," says Fulsom.

If workers don't find new, comparable paying jobs when the plant closes some of them may have to turn to local charities for help; the same charities they've been giving to for such a long time.

The United Way says since the strike started, they have not been able to collect workers' pledges from last year's campaign.  That's because the money is automatically drafted from checks. The United way says they will be able to make it through the end of their fiscal year.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com

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