Amanda Johnson Havre Daily News email@example.com
The students of local schools are hard at work trying to raise 104,000 pennies to help the United Way of Hill County reach their 2009 goal of raising $104,000 in support of their funded partners local recipients of United Way funds. The students are participating in the United Way drive through the program Pennies from Heaven.” Lorraine Verploegen, executive director of United Way told students on Wednesday that United Way, is trying to raise $104,000 for the local community and asked for their help in the "Pennies From Heaven," drive. “By working with Highland Park North and South, Sunnyside and St. Jude’s we’re all going to work together to try to reach that goal,” she told Vicki Hilliard’s second-grade class. “Do you think we can do it?” The class eagerly responded “Yes!” “The Pennies from Heaven campaign is an opportunity for elementary students to learn to give,” Verploegen told the Havre Daily. "We want to get chilDren to start early learning to give and help their community. “As the United Way starts their 2009 campaign for Hill County, I thought it would be a nice experience for elementary students to have the opportunity to be involved in a learn to serve’ project," she added. "Thus the Pennies from Heaven campaign emerged." This is the first year the local United Way has implemented for the Pennies from Heaven campaign. Students from kindergarten thrugh fifth grade are participating in the program. Schools that have elected to help raise funds are Lincoln-McKinley, Highland Park North, Highland Park South, Sunnyside and St. Jude Thaddeus School. “From November 2 to 14 students will collect pennies in their classrooms in hopes of reaching the 104,000 penny goal with the united effort of other schools in the county,” said Verploegen. “I thank all the students in their show of caring for their community.” Through the 2009 United Way of Hill County campaign drive, the following funded partners will receive support: Boy Scouts, Court Appointed Special Advocate, Center for Mental Health, Child Care Link, Domestic Abuse Program, Feed My Sheep, Hill County Family Planning, Girl Scouts, Havre Community Food Bank, Hi-Line Therapeutic Riding Association, Hill County Council on Aging, Kitty Keepers, Hill County Meals on Wheels, Hill County Mentoring and Salvation Army. Donations and pledges from the community toward the 2009 goal will continue to be taken until Nov. 30. As funds are received the community can continue to watch more of the giant thermometer turn red as it climbs to the 2009 goal. “So far we have collected about $13,000. Some of the big organizations haven’t finished up with their payroll deductions yet,” said Verploegen. A unique giving opportunity exist in United Way in that employees can ask their employers to deduct a specific amount from their payroll before taxes are taken out. The employer then sends the deducted donations in each month to United Way throughout the year. Pledges from employees, who decide to have their donations deducted for one full year, count toward the 2009 goal that is tallied Nov. 30. People can give as little or as much as suits them. One-time donations also count toward the goal. When people give to United Way they are helping all of the local funded partners at the same time, unless they mandate where their donation is to go. “We sent out a letter to the senior citizens in the community expressing the need for donations, and we have received over $7,000 from the seniors of the community," Verploegen said. "It’s amazing how much the seniors have donated when you think how they’re on a fixed income.” Though the goal is set to be reached by Nov. 30, Verploegen said she expects money will still be trickling in through December. "If we don’t reach our goal (based on the budget needs of the funded partners) then we will do a percentage and funds will be distributed according to how the funded partners impact our community,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how much you give, it just matters that you gave,” she added. Donations can be made to United Way where the funds will be distributed among the funded partners or earmarked for a specific funded partner per the donor's choice. For more information, call Lorraine Verploegen at 265-6561 or visit the local United Way Web site at www.helphillcounty. org.