By Ron VandenBoom
A crowd of about 25 supporters of the United Way gathered at the Golden Triangle Mental Health Building Tuesday to kick off the 1999 United Way Campaign in Hill County.
Jamie Young, the new director of the Hill County United Way, served as master-of-ceremonies at the noon luncheon that introduced the community to the various agencies supported by the United Way in Hill County.
Young, in her opening statement, said she was very excited about the campaign this year and hoped to maintain the successful program started by former director Tracie Pyette for the 1998 campaign.
She also announced that two new agencies had been added to the campaign this year, Hill County Mentoring for Tomorrow and Kitty Keepers. Kitty Keepers will only receive funds from contributors who specifically ask for their donation go to them.
Young said the goal this year has been set at $99,420.
Helping to get the campaign off to an early start are the Pacesetters a group of businesses that agree to start taking pledges from their employees before the campaign actually begins.
Gary Peterson, manager of the Havre Herbergers, took the floor to announce that this year the Pacesetters had already received pledges for 11 percent of this years goal a figure he said was two percent higher than that collected last year prior to the start of the campaign. He thanked the Havre businesses that composed this years Pacesetters for their generosity and hard work getting the campaign off to a successful start.
Representatives from the Girl Scouts, Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen, Mentoring for Tomorrow, the Domestic Violence Program, and Golden Triangle Mental Health, rose in turn to thank the United Way for their support and explain how important the funds received from United Way were to their organizations.
Pyette, representing Havres Domestic Violence Program, thanked the United Way for all of its support but singled out the First Annual Day of Caring as an example of the caring and willingness of the community to help those in need.
The Day of Caring was organized by the United Way in May to dismantle a shed behind the domestic violence safe house and perform some remodeling chores at the Safe House and at the Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen. All labor, equipment, and supplies were donated by community businesses.
Young, in concluding the ceremony, announced that all volunteers had been trained and pledge packets were ready to be distributed.
Havre businesses that have not already been approached can soon expect visits by United Way volunteers.
Volunteers will drop off pledge packets. Volunteers also speak to employees about the United Way program. A follow-up visit will be made by the volunteer to answer questions, collect packets, or hold meetings.