United Way feeling economic pinch

December 29, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- During an economic downturn, more people are in need of the services provided through the 27 member agencies of the United Way of Franklin County.

Hard times also mean the people and businesses that make donations are keeping a closer eye on their own finances.

"Through the fall, we appeared to be on track despite the economy, but I'm beginning to see some trends that concern me," United Way Executive Director Amy Hicks said Monday. "We're starting to see a slowdown in the campaign."

The goal for the campaign is $800,000 and, with two months left, the United Way was at 58 percent of that figure, Hicks said. By the end of December, the United Way would normally be at about 65 percent to 70 percent of its goal, she said.

"Some of the larger campaigns are not moving along at the pace they normally do, and I link that to the economy," Hicks said. Some employee campaigns for companies and institutions, she said, are lagging at this point.


"At the close of January, we're going to want to be at 80 percent," Hicks said. This January, she said, "we're going to be doing some additional outreach to expand our base of support."

For organizations such as the ARC for Franklin and Fulton Counties, the money raised by the United Way is not an insignificant part of the budget. ARC, which serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has a 2008-09 budget of about $190,000, of which approximately $26,500 comes from the United Way, Executive Director Lorrie Miller said.

Through November, ARC has served 140 people through its various programs, Miller said. Part of the funding for its contracts come from the state, which is essentially flat this year, she said.

That means "no monies for new services or people on the waiting list," Miller said.

"It's huge," Miller said of the United Way's impact on ARC. "We're just hoping they're able to reach their goal. That is a concern."

The United Way helps fund crisis services, including those offered by the American Red Cross and Women In Need; youth programs through Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and YMCAs; health care, including subsidies to Keystone Health Center for dental services and behavioral health programs; organizations serving families such as the Waynesboro Area Human Services Council; and agencies such as ARC, serving people with disabilities.

For more information or to make a donation, call the United Way at 717-262-0015 or go to its Web site at

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