Three initiatives mean win-win for the community

on Tuesday, 27 January 2015. Posted in News

EDITORIAL:  Posted: Sunday, January 25, 2015 3:00 am
Morning News

Several community initiatives that are in support of good causes have left the 2015 starting line and are off and running toward spring.

Florence’s Biggest Loser competition kicked off Tuesday. The latest Dancing with the Stars got underway earlier this month. The countdown has begun for Big Give Pee Dee, a new initiative.

The Biggest Loser is a sequel to the inaugural contest that the United Way of Florence County launched a year ago.

Dancing with the Stars, a crowd-pleasing event that is staged by and for The School Foundation, is back for a fifth year.

The Eastern Carolina Community Foundation is the organizing agency for Big Give Pee Dee, a regional event that will involve a nonprofit giving day.

The Morning News salutes and supports all three organizations and their initiatives.

A year ago, 60 people competed in Florence’s Biggest Loser. The group collectively lost more than 1,000 pounds in 10 weeks. Participants pushed themselves to the limit and changed their lives, and by doing so, they served as an inspiration to others. Mary McLeod won the $1,000 first prize. She lost 40 pounds, and she has lost 17 more since the competition ended. The event also served as a fundraiser for United Way. That made it a win-win event.

This year, 72 people have paid the registration fee of $150. In the end, $500 will go to the individual who loses the greatest percentage of pounds and $500 will go to the contestant who loses the most inches. But all participants are winners if they lower their blood pressure, increase their flexibility and create sustainable fitness and nutrition habits.

The emphasis last year was on fitness and nutrition. United Way has added a life coach this year.

As Stephanie Navarro, the community resource manager at United Way of Florence County, noted in an article published Sunday in the Morning News, the Biggest Loser program is only one part of a larger initiative called Burn & Learn, which promotes healthier lifestyles to the whole community.

The Morning News again is a partner with United Way, along with HillSouth, Miller Communications, Sozo Life & Leadership and McLeod Health & Fitness Center.

The Biggest Loser’s finish line is April 2. That’s two days after the Dancing with the Stars event takes place at the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology Center. The dozen “celebrity” dancers have a little more than two months to work on their best moves with their “professional” partner. March 31 is a date to mark on your calendar. The event is entertaining.

Last year, nearly 750 people attended the gala, which raised roughly $190,000 for The School Foundation. A short time later, the foundation presented more than $151,000 in grants to Florence School District 1 classrooms.

Kudos to the celebrities who are participating this year: Dr. Deepak Chowdhary of Pee Dee Gastroenterology Associates; Cedric Kennedy of South Florence High School; Will King of IGA Food Stores/KJ’s Market; Mike Miller of the Florence Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Susan Ninichuck of Roche Carolina; Fields Norwood of Lawson Turf Farm; Michele Pridgen of Honda of the Carolinas; Rick Ryan of NBSC; Stephen Wade of the Morning News; Robert Watkins of Johnson Controls; and Chris Warner of St. Jude Medical.

May 5 is the day to remember for the Big Give Pee Dee. In the weeks to come, you will hear more from the Eastern Carolina Community Foundation about this initiative. You’ll read about participating nonprofits in the Morning News. The campaign will culminate in a local “day of giving” effort. Other community foundations across the nation will carry out their own day of giving simultaneously.

Best wishes to United Way of Florence County, The School Foundation, the Eastern Carolina Community Foundation and all of the individuals involved in these initiatives.

Here’s hoping all three of these worthwhile efforts exceed expectations.

Unsigned editorials represent the views of this newspaper. Editorial board members are Stephen Wade (regional publisher), Don Kausler Jr. (regional editor), Kimberly Brauss (online editor), John Rains (news editor) and David Johnson (regional circulation director).