United Way exceeds fundraising goal

COVINGTON -- It's a merry Christmas for Covington-Newton County United Way Executive Doris Strickland.

The 2011 fundraising campaign has already exceeded the $350,000 goal, and some donations have yet to be collected, Strickland said.

"We have reached our goal, which is wonderful. We lowered it because of the economy. I'm just so ecstatic thinking we have gone over our goal in these economic times," she said.

Thus far, about $375,000 has been donated, and Strickland is optimistic that number will reach $400,000.

The fundraising goal was reduced in light of economic hardships faced by so many individuals, businesses and organizations that normally contribute. Last year's campaign fell short of the $475,000 goal by about $75,000.

But this year, some companies have had very strong showings. General Mills, which has a foundation that matches employee contributions dollar for dollar, raised more than ever before, Strickland said. Snapping Shoals EMC and Publix were also big contributors, raising about $40,000 and $20,000 respectively, she said.

Companies participate in the United Way campaign through voluntary deductions from employees' paychecks. Funds raised are allocated to more than 20 local non-profits at the beginning of each year.

"It's just astronomical to me. The ones that have jobs are giving, they really are. I couldn't be more proud of Newton County," Strickland said.

Contributions are still being accepted and can be mailed to P.O. Box 1344, Covington, GA, 30015, with checks made payable to United Way. For more information, call 770-786-7638.