EDITORIAL NOTE: This is the first in a series of stories written by United Way board member Christi Search about this year's fundraising campaign on behalf of local charities and service organizations. Each installment will feature a different United Way-assisted agency.
The United Way of Nodaway County kicked off its campaign season this week with a goal of raising $105,000 over the next few months.
Locally, United Way raises funds for organizations that nurture youth, help residents meet basic needs and promote health and wellness.
Money contributed to the United Way allows these organizations to focus their efforts on what they do best, and all donations go directly to programs that assist people living in Maryville and the surrounding communities.
Each year one company is selected as the "Pacesetter" for the campaign. Fulfilling that role in 2012 is St. Francis Hospital & Health Services.
The distinction means that St. Francis will start its fundraising this month, a few weeks ahead of the countywide campaign that begins in September. The idea is to kick-start the drive and literally set the pace toward reaching Nodaway County's United Way goal.
Fifteen agencies are to receive a portion of the funds that will be raised during this year's effort, including the Nodaway County Senior Center in Maryville, which provides meals and other services to older adults, in many cases allowing them to maintain their independence.
Currently, United Way funding provides approximately 4,000 meals to homebound Nodaway residents who lack funds or the physical ability to obtain such nutritional services for themselves.
Starting in September, county residents will receive information at their workplaces or residences explaining how they can contribute to this year's drive. All gifts are tax deductible.