On the shores of Lake Erie, the United Way officially kicked off its annual campaign Wednesday afternoon with a goal to help more than 30,000 individuals.
United Way Executive Director Deborah Tederous welcomed those in attendance to the luncheon, held at Shorewood Country Club, and thanked the community partners and those who have helped with previous campaigns. Tederous said the campaign is measured by the number of those affected instead of a specific dollar amount.
This year's posters for the annual campaign feature the number 32,451. This number represents the amount of people being helped by the United Way campaign. The campaign benefits community partners and they send information back to the United Way annually.
OBSERVER Photo by Samantha McDonnell
United Way Executive Director Deborah Tederous (left) speaks at the United Way campaign kickoff luncheon as community partner organizations look on.
"That's hard data based on the information that comes into the (United Way). That is now how we measure campaign, as opposed to telling the community we're going to set a goal of $400,000," said Tederous. "What we say to them is we want to make sure that we can still impact those 32,451 lives, whether it's a little bit more ... but we want to make sure we have the funds in-house that we can allocate out to our community partners ... That's really what the campaign is about - the community, not the dollar sign."
The community partners are organizations that help out those 32,000 individuals.
Margaret Tiffany, vice president for the United Way board of directors, said these partners help out with essential necessities, such as food and shelter. The United Way campaign's purpose is to ensure the community partners can keep doing "what you do so well" out of love, she said.
"We're here to kick off the campaign. Walk down the street in any of our cities, town or villages and see your friends, your neighbors. That's why we're here," said Tiffany. "We have been taught to love the people we serve even when they aren't always loveable. We give in so many ways and that's what the United Way is really about. Thank you for the help that you are going to be giving us over the next few months as we go through the next few months."
While times are tough and money can be tight, Tiffany said that "somehow, someway" the campaign is always successful. She said those who are able to give more, do so and are able to make up the difference from those who are struggling during these tough financial times.
"It's going to be a good campaign, we know it is. We're going to raise lots of money and help meet the needs," Tiffany said.
Vice President of Fundraising Ed Hazen, who also serves on the board of directors, thanked all the campaign coordinators and community programs at the luncheon. He spoke of worrying about students outside of school hours. He said two thirds of students in the Dunkirk City School District qualify for free or reduced lunches.
"Let (potential donors) know that 32,451 lives were impacted. The more that people give, perhaps the more we can help even more," he said.
For more information on the United Way or for ways to donate, visit www.unitedwayncc.org or call 366-5424.
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