The 101% Club: United Way surpasses goal -- and there’s more to come
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Hopkins County United Way Campaign members cheer for the success of exceeding their goal of $135,000, raising $136,020 as of Wednesday morning in their final regular meeting. They celebrated with cake and door prizes in the Chamber of Commerce conference room.
Staff Photo By Angela Pitts

Nov. 2, 2005 -- The campaign workers for this year's Hopkins County United Way drive enjoyed cake Wednesday morning, a thank you for all their hard work as well as a symbol that this  year's agencies may once again get to “have their cake and eat it too.”

The campaign workers reported that even in the aftermath of massive nationwide efforts to assist victims of two hurricanes, local businesses, industries, civic clubs and individuals dug deep to ensure that not only the $135,000 campaign goal to support 15 local agencies was met but exceeded.

Last year, the campaign brought in enough above the $130,000 goal that HCUW was able to allocate an additional $1,000 to each of the agencies which benefit from the drive. 

This year, with several packets still out and at least one fund raiser to be held, the HCUW campaign had brought in $136,020, or $1,020 more than their goal, or 101 percent, as of 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Deanna Landers, campaign chair, said that this year's campaign had been so successful due largely to the hard work of the campaign workers who collected the funding, but noted that the true credit goes to the "many, many people of Hopkins County who stepped up and gave so generously."

"We thank them for their support," Landers said. "When times are tough and they still step up to the plate and give, even a little, that's great. That's truly stepping up."

Campaign worker Patsy Johnson and Sandy Billodeau, assistant superintendent at Como-Pickton school, were noted for the large contribution from the school's staff. Overall, the school contributed $1,634, more than double the $800 which school officials thought could be collected. As the drive and C-P's donations continued, so did the bar for donations, up to $1,000 then $1,500. As an incentive, school staff were offered the opportunity to have their name entered into a drawing for a lunch at Chili's for contributions of $50 or more per person and for a lobster dinner for contributions of $100 or more. The school will also be celebrating with a special lunch, consisting of soups and desserts prepared by various staff members.

Cathy Chitwood, HCUW president, also noted a special donation of $5,500 they were awarded in Longview last week. The funds represented $3,000 raised during Enterprise Rent-A-Car's annual fishing tournament at Lake Bob Sandlin.

The HCUW president noted that Enterprise Foundation officials contacted Hopkins County United Way, only after the Dallas agency the group generally contributes the tourney proceeds to advised that it would not be needing the money this year.

Enterprise officials then began scouring local data banks for another local United Way agency to give the donation to. Upon locating HCUW, they contacted campaign officials and asked if the funds could be donated to the Hopkins County group. As they do with any potential contribution, HCUW officials accepted the offer, and were presented the check last week in Longview.

"They were excited to keep this [the $5,500 Enterprise donation] in the Northeast Texas area, where it was raised," Chitwood said.

"This has been a pleasure and an honor to serve [as campaign chair]," Landers said. "This is such a good community, everyone is so giving. It is so good to be able to serve and know that what we are doing, giving helps. You and I as individuals may not be able to make a significant impact to help each agency, but together we are able to make a difference for all of them. Every dollar that's given counts."

Landers also noted that while the official campaign is at an end, donations are still being picked up and will continue to come in. 

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