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United Center for Community Care (UCCC)


 

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UCCC History

Blake School is home to The United Center for Community Care, a centralized location where a number of nonprofit service agencies will eventually be located. The 47,000-square-foot building includes an industrial-size kitchen area, a gym-which converts to an auditorium with a stage-and a detached additional workshop area.

The United Center for Community Care is a result of collaboration between the United Way of Greenwood and Abbeville Counties, the faith-based community, and municipal and government groups. It was created with a simple but lofty mission: “To serve the homeless, the hungry and the disenfranchised with financial stability and dignity.” The idea for a central place where people could go when they needed help of any kind began as the brainchild of one man, Dr. Jack Parham (January 2009 inductee into Greenwood’s Hall of Fame). When he volunteered as a physician, Parham had often observed the uninsured and the needy waiting for emergency services. It seemed to him not only inefficient for people to be shuttled from one place to another but also inhumane.

“People had no privacy, no dignity in the process,” Parham said. He thought to himself, “There has to be a better way.”

After much prayer and soul-searching, he brought his idea to the leadership of the United Way. A volunteer committee chaired by board member Patrick Stewart began the due-diligence research last fall. Once the evaluation of the building’s structure and a study of the feasibility of the project were complete, the committee made a recommendation to United Way’s board of directors to buy the building.

The dream moved closer to reality Feb.11, 2008, when the United Way of Greenwood and Abbeville Counties closed on the mortgage and a certificate of occupancy soon followed. The United Way of Greenwood and Abbeville Counties moved into the center in June, 2008, becoming one of the building’s “anchors.” Since that time, a number of nonprofit agencies have taken up occupancy in the building, and in time, other non-profits will join and create one place where people can go when they need help and emergency services.

In early May 2008, Greenwood native Deborah Parks was selected to oversee operations and management of the United Center for Community Care. As a former United Way staff member, Deborah served as director of volunteer services, and prior to that, she managed and oversaw the federal AGES Grant Project. From 2000 to 2004, she was Calhoun Falls’ town administrator, and for the nine previous years, she was Greenwood’s assistant to the city manager. A Lander University graduate, Deborah received her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Georgia.