SIKESTON -- Looking for a way to contribute to your community? Support your local United Way.
The Sikeston Area United Way is kicking off its 2006-2007 campaign today, according to Anna Ferrell, chairperson for the campaign.
"We are still an active and vital part of the Southeast Missouri area," Ferrell said. "The money raised here does stay in Scott, New Madrid, Stoddard and Mississippi counties. The only money we send to the national United Way office is for our dues so we can use the logo and remain a legitimate part of the organization."
While last year's campaign was able to exceed its goal, the board didn't feel conditions were right for raising the bar and once again set the goal at $80,000 for this campaign.
"We always hope to exceed that goal," Ferrell said. In not raising the goal this year, the board's intention is "to make sure we are able to provide the allotted money to our agencies. We felt it would be the most fair thing to do for them."
Several of the agencies that receive support from the Sikeston Area United Way depend on its contribution.
"For a lot of these agencies, the money they receive from us is all they receive, so they really do count on our fundraising efforts to make their budget," Ferrell said. "A lot of the agencies provide their services at low cost or at no cost. We support these local agencies because the services they provide are needed very much in each of the communities we represent."
Local agencies currently supported by the Sikeston Area United Way are the East Prairie, New Madrid, Portageville and Sikeston (OAKS) nutrition centers, Bootheel Counseling Services, Boy Scouts Southeast Missouri Council, Delta Area Blind, Foster Grandparents Program, House of Refuge for Abused and Battered Women, Girl Scouts Cotton Boll Council, Kenny Rogers Children's Center, Scott County Transit, Sikeston Rescue Mission, Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence and YMCA of Southeast Missouri.
While the campaign's official kickoff is today, the board decided to build some momentum for this campaign in advance.
"We sent out letters to the area businesses as well as to individuals in our communities and we've had a great response to that letter so far," Ferrell said. "We appreciate those who responded to that letter as they recognize the important role we play in the community."
Ferrell said the Sikeston Area United Way staff and board members are always willing to come and do a presentation for any businesses that are interested.
Payroll deduction plans are also an option. When a business has several hundred employees, it doesn't take a very big donation from each person to make a significant total donation, according to Ferrell.
"Truly, every dollar does make a difference," she said.
Ferrell said she and the board also appreciate all the individuals and businesses that have donated to previous United Way campaigns.
"Without them we wouldn't be able to reach our goals," she said.
Donations may be mailed to: The United Way of Sikeston, 6 Mini Drive, Sikeston, MO 63801 or call 573-471-0310 for more information.