Gray Catsby

Gray Catsby is the office cat at the United Way of East Central Alabama. A fixture at the front counter in the office, Catsby enjoys greeting visitors while supervising the staff.

How did you become the office cat?

My original owner abandoned me. I found a house in a nice neighborhood, and the family who lived there let me come inside. One of the members of the family worked at United Way of East Central Alabama and brought me to work there the next day. Everyone in the office was so welcoming, and I was excited to learn more about what the United Way is.

What is it that you do as the office cat?

Even though our office at 1505 Wilmer Ave. in Anniston is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. every day, with a break for lunch noon-1 p.m., I am always on call. I get a pawful of catnip then check emails and voicemails before everyone gets here. When the staff gets here, I greet them. Once everyone is here, I poke my head into each office to check on everyone before I head back to bed for a short morning nap. After my nap, I ask everyone for a treat and check on any visitors who have come into the office. I supervise the office until lunch, when I eat with the staff, then we go back to work until 5. After everyone leaves I inspect the office, eat supper, then head to bed until the next morning.

What is the United Way of East Central Alabama?

 It is an organization that provides health and human services to folks in Calhoun, Cleburne and Randolph counties. Our mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of our communities. One of the important things to keep in mind is that we are governed by local volunteers — people who understand our community and the needs in our community. Also, 99 percent of all of our donations stay in our community; the other percent is given to United Way Worldwide.

Tell us about the most recent fundraising campaign.

The 2017-18 annual United Way fundraising campaign closed out with United Way achieving 101 percent of our $935,000 goal for a total of $943,986.32. The staff and I are so grateful to our wonderful donors who make it possible to provide more than 3,000 children in Calhoun County with age-appropriate books delivered to their door,  2-1-1 First Call for Help, free tax assistance for more than 1,494 individuals in Calhoun County and support for more than 25 community partners here in Calhoun County.

When will you begin the next fundraising campaign?

Aug. 14 will be United Way’s Annual Campaign Kick Off and Day of Action presented by Benton Nissan. Last year more than 250 volunteers packaged 50,000 meals that were distributed to our local food banks. United Way plans to host another food packaging event this year to kick off the 2018-19 annual fundraising campaign.

What has United Way of East Central Alabama contributed to disaster recovery efforts in Jacksonville?

United Way staff and volunteers have been on the ground since the March 19 tornadoes that devastated Jacksonville and the surrounding communities. United Way and Calhoun County Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) organized more than 5,500 volunteers and assisted more than 718 individuals with 31,124 donated items through the disaster recovery efforts.

How can someone donate to United Way of East Central Alabama?

Visit uweca.org and click the “Donate” tab in the top right hand corner, or our mailing address is P.O. Box 1122, Anniston, AL 36202-1122.

How can folks get involved as volunteers?

Visit uweca.org and click the “Volunteer” tab in the top right hand corner. It will take you to a webpage where you can learn more about available volunteer opportunities and fill out a contact form to let us know you want to get involved!

Faith Dorn is a freelance writer in Anniston. Contact her at faith.h.dorn@gmail.com.

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