SIKESTON - The United Way of Sikeston launched its annual fund-raising campaign in August. Then came Sept. 11, a recession and the war in Afghanistan; local UW officials worried whether their $76,000 goal would be met.
Those worries have proved unfounded. The Sikeston Area United Way not only met - it exceeded - its goal by raising $88,237, according to Glenna Shy, executive secretary for the local program.
"Sikeston is a very generous community and they have come through for us again," said Shy. "The 21 agencies supported by the local United Way are very grateful. Thanks to the people of our community and the surrounding area, the United Way is working!"
Now officials will divide the money among the area agencies designated to receive funding. Money, which is divided based on need, will go to: Bootheel Counseling Services, Southeast Missouri Council of Boy Scouts, Delta Area Blind, Foster Grandparents Program, Cotton Boll Girl Scout Council, Kenny Rogers Children's Center, Mission Missouri, four area nutrition centers, three Retired Senior Volunteer Programs in the Bootheel, Sikeston Bootheel Humane Society, the Sikeston Christmas Campaign, the Sikeston Rescue Mission, Southeast Missouri Red Cross, the transit programs in Mississippi and Scott counties and the YMCA of Southeast Missouri.
For this year's United Way Chairman Sarah Buchanan, the announcement marked the second year in a row she has led the campaign to a successful conclusion. She admitted to being concerned early in the fund-raising.
"There were a lot of difficult moments with Sept. 11 and people giving their money elsewhere. A lot of times we wondered if we really would make our goal or not," admitted Buchanan. "But Sikeston area residents have proved to be generous with the financial resources."
United Way officials credited their campaign's success to the involvement of individuals along with large and small businesses, where employees contributed to the United Way.
Buchanan noted while some companies were feeling the pinch of tougher times and cutting back on donations, others were able to exceed their previous year's level.
The chairman praised the volunteers for bringing the 2001 campaign to a successful conclusion. "I want to express my thanks to everyone who got out and worked their areas and came through for us. It makes my job easier," Buchanan said.
Also, she continued, it will make it easier for local groups to provide services to those in need. For many of the 21 recipients, the United Way funding is essential.
"For some, we are the only support they get. It doesn't seem like a whole lot but without that they couldn't do what they need to do," she explained.
While leaving the chairmanship behind with the end of this year's campaign, Buchanan does have some advice for next year's chairman. "You have to jump into it with both feet and do the best you can to keep on top of things," she said.
But as a local volunteer, Buchanan will still be a supporter of the United Way and the other area groups in need. In fact, there is little time for her to rest.
"Yes, I'm glad this is over," she said with a laugh about the United Way's 2001 campaign. "It is over just in time for me to start on the Kenny Rogers Children's Center telethon."