With Rising Need, United Way Launches Fundraising Effort

By Beacon Staff

For the first time in United Way history, the non-profit is conducting a fund-raising drive apart from its normal fall campaign, reflecting the tough economic times here and beyond.

The United Way has launched a special “30 Days to Make A Difference” fund drive to help its agencies meet substantial increases in needs for their basic services. Sherry Stevens Wulf, executive director of the local United Way, said many agencies have seen a 35 to 40 percent increase in demand for services at the same time donations are down. The United Way ended its 2008 campaign nearly $180,000 short of its fund-raising goal, and layoffs announced since the drive ended may further erode the total.

All of the funds raised during the 30-day drive will be allocated directly to United Way Member Agencies, Wulf said.

“We aren’t setting a monetary goal, we’re just asking people to look into their hearts and see what they can give,” Wulf said. “If everyone would give a little, it would help immensely to meet the needs of those whose lives have changed dramatically because of the economy.”

Donations benefit 26 United Way Member Agencies in Flathead County, serving thousands of local individuals and families with a variety of needs.

Last year, United Way member agencies helped nearly 57,000 people in need. Ninety-nine percent of all funds raised stay in local communities to help local citizens.

Current member agencies are the American Red Cross, Big Brothers and Sisters, Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of Glacier Country, Eagle Transit, First Call for Help- Net, Flathead CARE, Flathead Food Bank, Flathead Youth Home, Girl Scouts, Head Start, Literacy Volunteers, Mental Health Crisis Line, Nurturing Center, Retired & Senior Volunteer Program, Samaritan House, Sinopah House, Special Friends Advocacy Program, Summit Independent Living Center, Teen Night and the Violence Free Crisis Line/Abbie Shelter. Services of the United Way include CASA for Kids, Disaster Care Services, Leaders of Tomorrow and the United Way Volunteer Center.

Donors may choose how to donate, including cash, payroll deductions, charging to a credit card, direct bill, or through an automatic bank transfer. They can also designate which Member Agencies they want to receive their gift. For more information or to donate to the “30 Days to make A Difference” drive, call 752-7266 or mail donations to P.O. Box 7217, Kalispell, MT 59904.

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