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United Way campaign hits final stretch

Dan McKeen, chairman of the annual fundraising campaign for United Way of Clallam County, said by Thursday, Nov. 4, the organization had raised approximately $270,000. That’s not bad, he said, but it’s far short of the goal of $1 million he hopes to see in the organization’s bank account by Dec. 31.

 

McKeen, the Port Angeles fire chief, says the majority of the collections always arrives at the end of the year. “We have a big burst in the last two months.”

 

Workers at companies across Clallam are signing up for the employee plan, through which a portion of their salary is automatically directed to United Way. The annual mail solicitation cranks up in mid-November.

 

McKeen says everyone is working hard, but admitted, “We’re concerned this year because of the economy.”

 

He noted the irony of the circumstance: “When the economy is down, people can’t give as much. But the need for these services is that much greater.”

 

Russ Bonham, a part-time resource development manager for United Way, said the organization is doing vital work.

 

He remarked on the efforts of the Boys & Girls Clubs, one of the more than two dozen area agencies that are partially funded by United Way. He said this year a student expelled from Port Angeles High sought help from the Boys & Girls Club. One of the staff members helped get him back in school and “now he’s back on track to graduate.”

 

“United Way partner agencies — the organizations that are in part funded by United Way — provide an important safety net,” McKeen said.

 

McKeen said the 2009 goal was $1.1 million, but collections fell short. In all, the effort raised $970,000.

The collected funds help local do-good organizations in their work, including First Step, Volunteers in Medicine of the Olympics, Parenting Matters, YMCA and Healthy Families of Clallam County.

 

Every household in Clallam County should receive the fundraising mailer in the next week or two. Those wishing to donate also can call the United Way office at 457-3041 or go online to www.unitedwayclallam.org.

 

Reach Mark Couhig at mcouhig@sequimgazette.com.
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