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United Way of Franklin County hopes to raise $800,000

September 19, 2008

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The United Way of Franklin County kicked off its 2008 campaign last week at its new headquarters in Chambersburg with a presentation of the first Cindy Hawbaker Memorial Award.

"What you do represents change and hope to the community," said Tony Ross, president of the United Way of Pennsylvania. The need for donations and volunteers has increased, he said Wednesday.

The county campaign goal was raised to $800,000 this year due to the slowing economy and increased need for services for the 28 agencies in Franklin County that receive funding from the United Way, according to a press release from the organization.

The pacesetters campaign raised $139,000 as of last Wednesday's kickoff, said Nina Gillespie, chairwoman of the Pacesetters Committee. Fifteen businesses participated in the pacesetters campaign with several exceeding the goals they set, she said.

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For the second year in a row, the county United Way is recruiting young volunteers to deliver information packets to homes, according to the press release.

The slowing economy is having an impact on the lives of residents, as the cost of living exceeds the growth in wages, making it harder for families to make ends meet, said Trudy Wesley, coordinator for the Franklin County Homeless Shelter. The poverty rate in the county is more than 9 percent, she said.

Anne Barton, a volunteer with the Franklin County Literacy Council, received the first Cindy Hawbaker Memorial Award, named for the late executive director of the United Way of Franklin County. Hawbaker, who died in 2006, was the executive director for 11 years until forced to retire due to illness.

"We wanted to do something to reflect what was important to Cindy," said Debbie Ott, a friend of Hawbaker and member of the United Way's board of directors. "Her passion was community service and we wanted to honor that."

Barton trains 20 new tutors a year for the literacy council as well as providing ongoing professional development training for staff.

For more information about the United Way, call 717-262-0015, or visit www.franklincountypaunitedway.org.

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