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Franklin Co. United Way barely misses 2003 goal

February 26, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - For the third time in three years, United Way of Franklin County fell short of its campaign goal, but considering the state of the national and local economies in recent years, 99 percent is pretty good, according to the man who headed up last year's campaign.

Sean Meyers, chairman of the 2003 campaign, announced at Wednesday's annual meeting and campaign-closing luncheon that $692,515 was raised.

The campaign goal announced Sept. 24 was $700,000, he said.

"This is an economy that, much like the national economy, is in flux," said Meyers, an attorney. Fortunately, the local economy appears to be rebounding and "those who are successful and reap the benefits of the community are, in turn, generous to us," he said.

In late December, Executive Director Cindy Hawbaker said donations were lagging. She expressed some hope Wednesday that a few more donations will come in by the end of the month, when the campaign officially stops accepting pledges for the 2003 campaign.

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Any money that comes in after that, Hawbaker said, will be applied to the 2004 campaign.

"The goal every year is based on history and our sense of the local economy," Hawbaker said. "We try to keep the goal out there so we push ourselves to succeed."

In 2002, the goal was $745,000, but the chapter fell short of that, raising $671,000, Hawbaker said.

From the American Red Cross to the Waynesboro YMCA, donations benefit 25 organizations that serve more than 60,000 county residents, Meyers said.

"As a single funding source, we allow agencies to concentrate on providing services, not on fund-raising," he said.

"Because of you, families that are hungry get food ... women and children have a safe haven to retreat to when violence enters their lives," United Way board chairman and Franklin County Commission Cheryl Plummer said. "What you do for United Way ... stays here in Franklin County" with almost 90 cents of every dollar raised going to member agencies.

The top 10 of United Way employee contributors was headed by Chambersburg Hospital and its affiliates, Myers said. The hospital's vice president of operations, John Massimilla, said employees pitched it with almost $52,000.

The Target Distribution Center in Chambersburg, which opened in 2003, placed second in that category.

The theme of the campaign was "What Matters?" and when it kicked off in September, Women In Need Executive Director Barb Channing illustrated what that meant to her agency with a pair of shoes that a woman had worn the last time she was beaten by her abusive partner.

United Way picked up on that idea Wednesday with a display of footwear - the hiking boot of a Boy Scout, the work boot of a father who needed help buying a pair to secure a job, the slippers of woman cared for by a hospice program, and the riding boot of a participant in the Franklin County Therapeutic Riding Program.

"What matters? It's a question which all of us can answer in many different ways," Meyers said.

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