Rachel Dever, of Hartford, has always loved helping people, and that is why she is grateful her job at Walmart has given her the opportunity to help the community through her involvement with United Way. Dever is the community coordinator for United  Way at Walmart, where she has worked for over 30 years. She was introduced to the organization when it first began in the county. Her involvement began when United Way held a campaign at the store where it handed out information about  employees making donations. A speaker told the group about how donations were used in the county. “I felt like that was  something I could give a few dollars to each payday,” Dever said. “My number one thing is that I love helping people,” she said. “I  just like to help them and through United Way it brings different groups together working together to help others.”
Dever is a member of United Way’s Investment Team, serving as chair last year. This team helps decide where the dollars  collected by United Way are spent inside of Ohio County. Organizations such as Boy Scout troops, hospice, senior citizens services and the Ohio County food pantry have benefited from money collected through United Way in Ohio County. Along with the funds collected, Dever is actively involved in the Pack the Pantry and Stuff the Bus campaigns as part of United Way. “These dollars that we get an d not just the dollars but when we have events like Stuff the Bus or Pack the Pantry — all this goes right back into the community for our families who are less fortunate,” she said. Stuff the Bus is an event to collect school supplies for  children in need. It is usually a two day event where residents are asked to bring needed school supplies to be distributed to local students.

Pack the Pantry is an event to collect non-perishable food items or monetary donations for the Ohio County Food Pantry. It is   typically a one-day event held one or two times a year, Dever said. “When you collect those school supplies and you go to the  schools and you see these kids get new school supplies that they would no t have otherwise, it just really touches you,” she said.
Her work through United Way isn’t the only time you will see Dever helping others. She does a lot of work with the area veterans
as Walmart provides 100-200 veterans lunch on veterans day — and there are times when she might just “cook or bake something to take to a neighbor.” Because of her work with United Way, her 32 years at Walmart and her reputation for helping  others, Dever receives phone calls regularly from people needing assistance, she said mainly because they know she can ei ther  point them in the direction to obtain assistance or knows where there might be funds available to help. “When people call me and they have no food or their kids are not going to have crayons or pencils and paper for school, that really tugs at my heart,” she said.  Dever always looks forward to Pack the Pantry and Stuff the Bus, because helping prepare for the events brings relief  to her own life. “If I can be preparing for Stuff the Bus or something to that effect there is a lot of hard work that goes into it, but  that is my stress reliever. It is something for me to put my energy toward,” she said. Having spent her whole life in Ohio County and working at Walmart for three decades, being able to help the people she lives near and sees on a regular basis gives her joy.
“When you can help in the community where yo u live and with people that you know, it just makes it better.

Dana Brantley

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