United Way campaign shows area is wealthy in community spirit

Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2006

Festival attendance is a good way to measure community spirit. Another is how generous members of the community are in supporting neighbors who are less fortunate than themselves.

The peninsula gets high marks in both categories.

This year’s United Way campaign wrapped up in April, and the final tally put donations at $611,000 —$11,000 ahead of its goal.

Companies and corporations stepped up to the plate with their donations. ConocoPhillips, Agrium USA and their employees got special recognition for giving more than $80,000 each, with Agrium cited for having the highest average employee gift, which was more than $675 per employee.

Central Peninsula General Hospital ranked highest in employee giving, at $37,000.

Corporate giving and organized employee fundraising are the engine that drives the United Way campaign’s thermometer upward, but it is individual donations that are indispensable in pushing it to and beyond its goal every year.

For less than the cost of a latte, a senior citizen could eat a hot meal, and for the price of one CD a week, a child could attend an after-school program. Put in those terms, every donation — whether $5, $50 or $50,000 — makes a difference in someone’s life.

The United Way is uniquely situated to make a difference in many lives, as it distributes money to several agencies — The American Red Cross, Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, The Salvation Army, Cook Inlet Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Kenai Peninsula Community Care Center, SeaView Community Services, South Peninsula Women’s Services, the LeeShore Center, Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic, Hospice of the Central Peninsula, Hospice of Homer, Forget-Me-Not Care Center, Frontier Community Services, Homer Children’s Services, Friendship Center Adult Day Services, South Peninsula Mental Health, Kenai Senior Services, Ninilchik Senior Citizens Center, Seward Senior Citizens Center, Soldotna Senior Citizens Center, Sterling Area Senior Services, Boys and Girls Club of the Kenai Peninsula, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Kenai Civil Air Patrol Cadets and Kenai Peninsula Youth Court.

The needs in our community can be great, but thankfully so can the generoristy.

Thanks to all who donated.

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