United Way striving to reach $205,000 goal

The St. Marys Area United Way is counting on local residents to help their community by contributing to the organization's 2011 goal of $205,000.The annual fall United Way kickoff campaign launched recently as part of the inaugural class of the 2011 Leadership Elk County (LEC) program held at Camp Kaelber. St. Marys Area United Way Executive Director Sherron McGowan and UW Board of Directors President Becky Piccolo were in attendance, both of whom addressed members of the class.McGowan encouraged the new LEC class to adopt the United Way's tagline of, "Give. Advocate. Volunteer.""What a way to live life! We need to keep looking out for each other and St. Marys does that very well," McGowan said.In addressing the LEC class, Piccolo noted that leaders naturally do things they want to do and when they find that passion, good things happen. In July, the UW Board of Directors voted to maintain the previous year's goal of $205,000."We know that with the economic times as they are and especially with the cuts to the health and human sectors in the state budget, that the agencies supported by the United Way are in need," McGowan said. "This year, we would like to see everyone open their hearts and give to the campaign. It all helps to make our community stronger; it's every dollar and every donation that makes the difference."In 2010, the United Way narrowly missed achieving its goal; however, shortly after the conclusion of the campaign, additional donors came forward to propel the United Way to its goal.Over the past several years, the United Way has maintained its goal of $205,000."We weren't ready to raise the bar and there is no way we can lower it," Piccolo said. "The community of St. Marys will again be asked to show its generosity and come through in raising the funds to meet this aggressive goal. I believe that when things are down, the people in this area come through for the less fortunate." Contributing to the UW is a simple process which can be accomplished through payroll deduction at the workplace; through a direct donation to the organization, located at 44 South St. Marys St., St. Marys, PA 15857; or by calling 781-6000. Employers interested in setting up employee payroll deduction to the United Way are encouraged to contact McGowan.McGowan noted 90 percent of the money raised in the campaign goes back to the community through 16 different organizations. The remaining 10 percent is utilized for administrative purposes.