At a joint Soldotna and Kenai Chamber of Commerce meeting last week Gary Turner, 2013 United Way Campaign Chair rolled this year’s campaign goal of $650,000 and challenged everyone to match his $1,000 personal check. “United Way is very close to me and my family, they have helped us when we were a very young and poor family and Hospice, a United Way agency helped with my grandmother’s passing when I was unable to be there personally so it’s very near and dear to my heart,” said Turner. Announcing the campaign goal this year Turner said it’s simply a number that he plans to see in his rearview mirror, “We didn’t shoot to break any records this year, we’ve been higher in the past but the economy is just starting to rebound and we think it’s a reasonable goal but at the end of this campaign we want to see it way back in our rearview mirror and it’ll take every one and every dollar to help us do that. The cabinet’s plea is to invest in your community, invest in our children, invest in our seniors, invest in those that need a chance by donating by donating to this year’s campaign,” he said.

This year’s campaign theme is “United We Stand, United We Give.” Turner feels the slogan resonates the need and the will of those in our community who are willing to help those less fortunate. United Way’s new executive director Lisa Roberts reminded those at the Chamber meeting that it’s not just cash that can be contributed, “We’ll accept in-kind contributions and volunteer hours in supporting the 27 United Way agencies on the Peninsula it all helps,” she said. Turner added, “What’s the cost of a latte or mocha each day you may have before you go to work, do the math and it adds up to about $1,000 a year so some folks may want to make a sacrifice but when you listen or learn of the services that these agencies provide you gain a deep understanding of why United Way is so important for everyone that needs or may be in need of services at some point in our lives. You just never know so pay it forward.”

The following day was a United Way “Day of Caring” where local businesses and volunteers donned worked clothes and gloves and left their jobs to meet some physical needs at some of the United Way agencies like the Peninsula Food Bank and LeeShore Center. A crew of eleven workers from the ConocoPhillips LNG plant in Nikiski turned out, “Some of these guys are on their weeks off; others came from their jobs and were excited to get out of the office on a nice day and do whatever was needed. We were at the Food Bank this morning and at LeeShore the remainder of the afternoon, giving back to the community is something we all do,” said Peter Micciche. “It makes us here at the LeeShore Center feel wonderful; they are a great group of guys who have been coming out for the last four years. They are doing some very needed yard work and fence mending, we really appreciate it,” said Jeanette Browning of the LeeShore Center.

To schedule a United Way presentation at your business or place of work or to learn specifics about the 27 Unite Way agencies and their services contact Lisa Roberts at 907-283-9500 or stop by the office in Kenai at 508 Willow Street, suite D.