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September 13, 2013

United Way campaign off to strong start

DUNCAN — After making goal of $300,000 for the 2012-13 campaign, the United Way of Stephens County has increased the goal for the new campaign.

Lauren Ellis, United Way of Stephens County director, and Haylee Root, this year’s campaign chairwoman, agree this year’s campaign is off to a strong start, which hopefully will result in more money raised by the end of the campaign.

This year’s campaign goal is set at $350,000. A follies event served as the kickoff fundraiser for the campaign. The follies event helped the United Way and its agencies raise $3,071.

It informed people about the 16 agencies helped by the United Way in an entertaining setting.

“We hadn’t really started at this time last year,” Ellis said. “I hope the momentum continues. We’re off to a really great start.”

The United Way started sending out its pledge and donation cards to businesses about three weeks ago. Ellis said the response has been great, and she hopes to see the community’s excitement for the campaign continue.

“As a result of everything starting early, everything has been going a lot quicker,” Root said.

This year’s campaign theme is “Be the One: Enabling 16 to Empower 16,000.” Root said the theme alludes to the 16 agencies that receive some funding from the United Way of Stephens County. About 16,000 people are helped annually by these agencies.

This year’s campaign video premiered during the follies event. Ellis and Root said they want everyone to get an opportunity to see the video. People can see the video by friending the United Way of Stephens County on Facebook or looking the video up on YouTube.

“The branding this year is so cool,” Ellis said. “My volunteers are amazing.”

Although a goal has been set for this year’s campaign, Root and Ellis said the goal isn’t the important thing. They said it’s important thing is for people to give so they can help support 16 agencies that help people throughout Stephens County.

“The more we raise, the more we’re able to give,” Ellis said.

Some examples of how the money raised can help others include:

n $1 per week/$52 per year — Provide 260 meals to hungry families in Stephens County, provide transportation for an abused woman to a safe place, provide transportation for a senior who is no longer able to drive.

n $2 per week/$104 per year — Provide one night of emergency shelter care for abused, neglected, and homeless children and youth, provide one hour of counseling for families, assist one family in financial crisis with utility bill.

n $5 per week/$260 per year — Help two families keep their utilities and feed on family for a week, provide two nights for food and shelter for an abused woman and her child, sponsor a service project for 20 incarcerated girls.

n $10 per week/$250 per year — Provide legal services for a victim of consumer fraud, provide HELP suicide prevention training to a class of 30 youth, provide after school snacks and program supplies for an entire year.

n $20 per week/$1,040 per year will — Start a leader-in-training program for young girls, sponsor one child to attend Gabriel’s House for an entire year, connect 285 people t help, hope and information.

Anyone wanting to get involved with this year’s campagin can call Haylee Root, campaign chair, at 580-656-7669 or the United Way office at 255-3648.

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