United Way sets $400K goal

COVINGTON -- Covington-Newton County United Way Director Doris Strickland doesn't know how it happens; she's just thankful it does. The chances of reaching the agency's fundraising goals have seemed bleak in recent economic times, but at the last minute, it seems the donations pour in.

Last year, the goal was reduced to $350,000 in light of economic hardships faced by so many individuals, businesses and organizations that normally contribute. But as the campaign wrapped up at the end of the year, the grand total climbed to just more than $400,000.

Strickland is hoping to match that this year, with a fundraising goal of $400,000 for the campaign that officially kicked off last week. While people are still giving, the amount of donations has been reduced in recent years, and subsequently allocations to local non-profits have been reduced, Strickland said. The United Way contributes to about 20 local non-profits. "Any time an agency gets money reduced, whether it's a dollar or $10,000, it affects them," Strickland noted.

"I think we have such a diversity of agencies; not only do we help as far as their needs that are today becoming rapidly worse and worse, but we also meet the needs of the community as far as child development, education of children ... so while we're helping people we're also trying to get younger people ready to go out into the world so they don't have to ask for help," she said. "The United Way has something for everyone. We've got to have the funds to give to these agencies. When you give to United Way you're helping the whole community of Newton County."

The need is greater and greater, she said.

"I used to never have people just walk into my office and now they just walk in needing help."

Companies participate in the United Way campaign through voluntary deductions from employees' paychecks.

Individual contributions 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.