The head of United Way in Hill County said Wednesday that money is coming in to help fund agencies in the county, but with two weeks to go in the fundraising campaign, the organization is still $30,000 short of its goal.
United Way Executive Director Lorraine Verploegen said people, once again, are stepping up and making donations, “but I want people to know there is a need, and we will accept donations through Dec. 31.”
She said the tally at the start of this week was about $79,000 pledged and donated, leaving more than $30,000 to reach United Way’s goal of $110,000,
United Way helps fund 12 agencies in Hill County, ranging from the Havre Food Bank and the Feed My Sheep Soup Kitchen to the volunteer group that helps abused and neglected children, Court Appointed Special Advocates; from Kitty Keepers to the Hill County DUI Court and the Center for Mental Health.
Each year, agencies apply to United Way and make a funding request, and the United Way Board of Directors decides how much the organization will try to provide to each agency.
“If we don’t meet the goal we have the terrible job of saying, ‘you only get so much,’” instead of the amount requested, Verploegen said.
She added that, while donations of goods and items like food to the food bank or soup kitchen help those agencies, they still have to pay the bills. United Way’s assistance helps make rent or lease payments and helps pay expenses like phone and utility bills. This is especially needed by agencies that don’t have federal dollars to fall back on.
Donors can specify to which of the United Way Agencies their contribution will go, or make a general contribution that will go into the general account that will be divided amongst those agencies.
The only exception is Kitty Keepers, which only receives money specified to go to it.
Verploegen said that, especially with high unemployment and with cuts to programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, the need to fund the United Way-supported agencies is even greater, with increased hunger, violence and crime likely to follow if people can’t get help.
“It’s just a domino effect to the negative, and we want to prevent that,” she said.
The tax-deductible donations can be made at the United Way of Hill County office, housed with the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce at 130 5th Ave ., and also via PayPal on the United Way website at http://helphillcounty.org/. People can print out a copy of the contribution form to fill out and bring in to the office at that site, as well.