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County United Way hopes to meet goal

December 02, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Three months into this year's United Way campaign, the Franklin County organization is more than halfway to meeting its goal.

"We've topped the $400,000 mark," said Executive Director Cynthia Hawbaker.

This year's $745,000 goal is the same as last year's, but Hawbaker is worried that the struggling economy might keep the United Way of Franklin County from reaching its goal for the second year in a row.

"We're concerned because we know we have some losses in pledges due to economic downturns and the slow manufacturing sector," Hawbaker said. "I know it will be a tough year to achieve the full goal, but I'm pleased with where we are at."

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Hawbaker said the organization strived to be within 50 or 60 percent of its goal by Thanksgiving, and at 85 percent by the end of the year.

The United Way does not announce its final total until its annual meeting in February.

"Hopefully we can announce success," she said.

Hawbaker said even the local workers who have found new jobs are making significantly less money, precluding many from participating in this year's campaign.

At the same time, the sluggish economy is putting a greater strain on the agencies that United Way funds support.

"Organizations are all telling me they are being called upon much more than ever, and of course the money is not going as far," she said. "When we can't raise as much, there are just some folks unable to be helped."

Hawbaker said the situation is also frustrating some of the diligent core of volunteers.

"They are coming back with less, and they feel responsible, even though it's nobody's fault," she said.

The United Way of Franklin County has seen some growth in the residential campaign, and there are a few new corporate campaigns.

"Every year our community rallies to raise this money, and for that we are very grateful," Hawbaker said.

Campaign Chairman Mary Ellen Hess has pledged to wash the windows at four United Way agencies, including the Waynesboro Human Services building and the Franklin County Homeless Shelter, if the United Way meets its goal.

"We are where we need to be right now, but we do know there are some losses out there. Hopefully people will come out and give an added push," Hess said.

The United Way of Franklin County missed its goal last year by $12,000.

Officials never expected to come so close, given hundreds of layoffs at county businesses and the flood of donations to Sept. 11 disaster funds.

Local residents who are not contacted through a workplace campaign or other personal solicitation can support the campaign by sending contributions to the United Way at 183 S. Coldbrook Avenue, P.O. Box 47, Chambersburg, PA 17201.

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