United Way at 11% of goal after first report meeting

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

Oct. 14, 2008 - Hopkins County United Way campaign officers are optimistic about this year's campaign to raise $150,000, announcing at today's first report meeting that 11 percent of the goal has already been met.

Workers present at today's meeting reported most pledge packets had been distributed and most were receiving positive feedback.

"This is a great way to start," said John Sellers, United Way campaign president. "Things look good for meeting the goal."

He said that he's been excited to be asked to speak at a number of number of businesses in the past week, while several others have asked for a United Way representative to explain the fund drive to their employees.

"We're getting a really positive response. People are concerned in these tough times, but they seem to realize the need for these agencies," Sellers said, referring to the local charitable and service organizations that receive United Way funding and provide aid to many Hopkins County residents.

Those turning in packets noted that most were meeting their goal, and some were exceeding it.

Pansy Bell noted that Weavers' Town and Country Cleaners had doubled what was asked of them, turning in a $500 contribution.

Hopkins County United Way Executive Secretary Charlotte Henderson reported that they were glad to receive Fidelity Express' donation. The company fell a little bit short of its goal, but still turned in a $2,319 pledge.

Henderson and Sellers also praised Sulta Manufacturing. The company committed to a $2,000 donation, and Sulta employees pledged another $2,319.

"Sulta doesn't have a lot of employees, but it's almost unreal how much they give per employee," Sellers noted.

"They are really to be commended for giving so generously each year," Henderson said.

Another campaign worker distributed packets to businesses in the Broadway Square shopping area, which included some new businesses. She found them to " the be easiest to work with ever." She said quite a few, when handed a packet, asked her if she could wait so they could go ahead and write her a check.

Donna Wallace reported that she'd delivered all but one of her packets, and that business was aware the packet will be coming soon. She also turned in two packets from business that met their goals.

Billy Crowson turned in all except one of his donation packets Tuesday, as did Coy Vickers, who said he had one packet that he wouldn't be able to distribute due to the company's policy of not soliciting employees. Vickers reported Tractor Supply Co.'s manager was "real receptive" when explaining that corporate policy would prevent him from allowing United Way to solicit its employees, but noted that if HCUW could think of another way to collect donations, he'd be glad to help. One suggestion was to set up a box, jar or kettle into which employees and customers could drop donations.

Lucy Vaden reported she'd handed out six packets, and so far all the ones she'd picked up have met their goal.

Sellers said he's hopeful that United Way will be able to add Owens Country Sausage to its list of contributors this year. He was asked to speak at two different times to the company's employees about United Way and how they can contribute through payroll deductions.

Sellers also noted that City National Bank also seems to be doing well as far as donations go, although the final tally isn't in yet.

Henderson said that school packets, distributed by Judy Tippings, should be turned in at the end of the month, when teachers and school personnel get paid.

Henderson reminded that all businesses and industries meeting or exceeding their goal would be included in the 100 Percent Club, which is announced by the local media.

In past years, customers of local banks have received with their bank statements a mail-out offering a way for customers to contribute to United Way, but no fliers will be mailed by the banks this year. The mail-outs were done at the expense of those banks, which she said already do plenty through employee donations and a hamburger benefit, so Hopkins County United Way is not asking the banks to do the mail-outs this year.

Instead, United Way is asking customers who contributed through the mail-outs to mail their donation to HCUW Headquarters, P.O. Box 735, Sulphur Springs, TX 75483.

Henderson also reminded that donations may be made in memory or honor of loved ones and friends.

Any business or organization interested in scheduling a speaker to talk about United Way may contact Henderson at 903-885-6829 or Sellers at 903-885-7523.

Anyone needing more information about Hopkins County United Way, the agencies it benefits, the current campaign or making a donation should also contact Henderson.

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