The Times West Virginian

March 1, 2013

‘Phenomenal’ fundraising by United Way will help great causes

Times West Virginian

— Maybe your kids participate in Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts.

Or maybe you know someone who’s now a better reader thanks to services offered by the Literacy Volunteers.

Or maybe you’ve spent some time as a Big Brother or Big Sister, helping make an impact on the youth of Marion County.

If you have, you’ve seen the positive effects these agencies have in our area.

And you’re probably as delighted as we are that the United Way, which provides funding to these agencies and numerous others like them, has exceeded its fundraising goal of $455,000 this year.

It’s the largest campaign goal the United Way has ever set, and executive director Tiffany Samuels commended local residents and organizations for their outpouring of donations.

“I am absolutely speechless and can’t come up with the words to thank Marion County for helping those in need,” Samuels said after last week’s announcement. “The fact that we’ve reached it in February is phenomenal.”

That phenomenal effort will certainly be put to good use.

The money raised will help the following agencies: American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts of America, Child Advocacy Center, CASA, CCC (Criss Cross), Family Services, Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council, HOPE Inc., Literacy Volunteers, Mannington Food Pantry, Marion County Family Resource Network, Marion County Senior Center, Milan Puskar Health Right, Scott Place Shelter, Sobrania Soup Opera, Disability Action Center, Connecting Link, Salvation Army, Stepping Stone and YWCA.

Dr. Doreen and Len Larson also deserve credit for the “phenomenal” feat. As co-chairs of this year’s campaign, they pushed for a higher goal from the beginning.

“Dr. Larson and Len went on full attack mode,” Samuels said. “They said, ‘No, we can do better. We must set the goal to exceed expectations,’ and hence the goal was set at $455,000.”

The Larsons’ commitment to the campaign — and the fact that they hit the ground running when it started — was a key to such an incredible feat being accomplished.

But they couldn’t do it alone, and the couple thanked several businesses and residents for their generosity in another successful campaign.

But isn’t that the true spirit of the United Way shining through? After all, the organization’s mission is “building the community by helping people care for one another.”

With more than $455,000 raised — and money still coming in — people in Marion County have helped the United Way fulfill that goal in more ways than one.