Fund drive touches lives across Miss-Lou

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 9, 2004

There’s less money and more need this year. The economic situation in Adams County and across the Miss-Lou, mainly the loss of International Paper, has cut back on the amount of financial donations the United Way will receive this year and at the same time has increased the number of individuals and families who will need financial assistance.

United Way Executive Director Rhonda Stevens said without contributions from IP and its employees the campaign will lose about $70,000.

Though Stevens said she still expects to come up short when the financial books close in early January, she did say other local businesses and individuals have stepped up to close the gap.

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&uot;A lot of businesses have upped their goals, and we have a few companies who have never done a campaign before that are doing one,&uot; she said.

Vidalia is also making a major contribution to the campaign by contributing a portion of the proceeds raised with their first

Winter Wonderland of Lights.

Typically the fund drive comes to a close before Christmas, but with 13 business campaigns still out Stevens said she would wait until the first of the year to end it.

So far, Stevens estimated that about $200,000 had been raised out of the $400,000 goal.

The money raised will be given to 21 local agencies based on need. An allocation committee reviews applications from non-profit agencies to determine who receives funding and how much can be given.

&uot;It’s a very, very tough decision, divvying out that money,&uot; Stevens said. &uot;They may have to take from one to give to another. All of the agencies have seen an increase in the need.&uot;

The agencies that receive the most money include the Concordia Council on Aging, the Adams County Council on Aging, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, Pleasant Acre Day School and Catholic Charities.

Other United Way beneficiaries include the humane society, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and 4-H clubs on both sides of the river.

The United Way doesn’t directly give money to those in need but refers individuals to another organization, usually the Salvation Army to start off, Stevens said.

The Salvation Army offers vouchers for food, clothing, furniture and a variety of other needs.

United Way allocated funding four times a year and also receives a federal grant for about $22,000 each year.

&uot;We try to help. We wish there was a ton more money,&uot; Stevens said. &uot;It’s a tough road and the need is much greater.&uot;