11/20/06 — United Way extends campaign drive

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United Way extends campaign drive

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on November 20, 2006 1:46 PM

With less than a week left in its campaign and a little more than half of the 2006 goal met, United Way of Wayne County has extended its annual fundraising campaign to the end of the year.

The total raised so far is $821,206.81 -- 57 percent of the goal of $1.44 million, 2006 campaign chairman Geoff Hulse announced this week.

And that deficit is a concern with only about a month officially left in the campaign, Hulse said.

"As we stand now, if we get just the money that we raised last year through employee campaigns, corporate gifts and individual donations, we're still going to be shy of the goal," he said. "And that's with the campaign being extended to the end of the year."

This time last year, 75 percent of the goal had been raised.

Hulse said United Way volunteers remain optimistic the goal will be reached. Several large campaigns have yet to be completed. A little extra time might just be the push the campaign needs, he said.

"We always hope we're going to end the campaign by Thanksgiving, but we're dealing with human beings here and everybody moves at their own speed. So we're going to stick it out until the end of the year."

There might even be a few surprises in the coming weeks as the community bands together to reach the goal, he added.

"We'll see where we are at Thanksgiving," Hulse said. "Then we're going to see what we need to do to try to make this goal."

Although the campaign total isn't where it should be at this point, Hulse said he still has faith donors will come through.

"There's no contribution too small," he said. "If you can send in $10,000, great. But if you can only send in $50 or you and a friend can only send in $50 together, you and that friend can look at each other and say 'We've improved a life in Wayne County.'

"And that's what we're asking. We're asking everybody to reach in a little bit and help us make this goal."

Hulse said people just don't know when somebody in their neighborhood, town or church might, with just a moment's notice, need services provided by programs supported by the United Way.

"I hope it's not them, but it's going to be somebody in this community in the year 2007 who's going to need the Red Cross or the Salvation Army or Meals on Wheels -- any number of the programs that lift people up in a time of emergency," he said.

United Way contributions also help to support day-to-day programs that make lives better in the community, Hulse added.

"It's not just about emergency," he said. "It's giving kids at the Boys and Girls Club or with the scout program or others a chance to enjoy life, improve life."

And helping the United Way is not really about contributing to a charity, Hulse added. It is about being a part of a community's efforts to take care of its own.

"We're asking them to be an investor in their community," he said. "I think when they look at the programs that are available and funded by United Way that they'll see that there's somebody out there that their contribution can help."

Hulse said last year there were some people who saw that the campaign was a little short and stepped up to help.

"I feel certain that when we look at this at the end of November, we're going to see these percentages go up then hopefully we're going to have a plan of attack to bring home the goal by the end of the year."