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United Way halfway to goal

December 13, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- Five young singers from Girls Inc. were swaying to the beat of three popular Christmas carols Friday at the annual United Way of Washington County Rally on the Square.

They also were trying to keep warm.

The indicator on the campaign thermometer displayed in the northeast corner of the square went from 40 percent to 52 percent Friday, bringing the campaign total to $1,044,378.

That warmed the hearts of the United Way volunteers and staff who attended the rally. This year, United Way has set a $2 million goal to assist its 27 member agencies.

"It's a slower campaign, but we are having great successes every day," said Leah Gayman, executive director of United Way of Washington County.

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The recent news of layoffs at two major companies with significant employee-driven campaigns -- Citi and Volvo Powertrain -- has not escaped United Way's attention.

"Every day, it becomes more obvious to us but, there are not a lot of options ... we must pull out all the stops," Gayman said.

With the economy in disarray and concern about losing jobs, people tend to hold on to their money. But Gayman said contributors need to remember the need is very real.

"People are hungry and cold," she said.

They also are in need of after-school programs, clinic services and shelter when they are homeless.

Campaign co-chair Noel Williams joined with agency representatives, as well as Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II, Washington County Commissioners President John Barr, and other city and county officials at the rally.

For more information about United Way, its agencies and how to make a contribution, call 301-739-8200. The United Way office is at 33 W. Franklin St., No. 203.

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