Another United Way campaign is under way on the Kenai Peninsula. The 2002 drive was officially kicked off last Thursday at the Kenai Senior Center with a free community reception that featured live entertainment, door prizes, and refreshments. It was the best attended Kick-Off ever, according to Evy Gebhardt, United Way executive director.
Earlier a capacity crowd enjoyed the first event of the 2002 campaign on a Fjord tour in Seward, "It was a phenomenal time, and we had a sold out crowd and wonderful weather, and thanks to Kenai Fjord Tours that donate their boat to us annually. It's a fantastic event for community and families," said Evy Gebhardt.
This will be Gephardt's third campaign since she took over the position as executive director and she is as enthusiastic as ever, "With the collective energy of our phenomenal 2002 campaign chairperson Diana Zirul, we'll be following on the tremendous success that Bob Favretto and Bruce Passe, her successors have had going into this community which is such a giving community, I see the trend of growth continuing," said Gebhardt.
Even though United Way has exceeded its goals the last three years, the 2002 goal is set for $650,000, the same as the 2001 goal, "While we exceeded our goal last year, we decided to maintain that 650 thousand dollar goal this year and if we exceed that it will be wonderful, but that is the goal that is set for this year," said Gebhardt.
At the Kick-Off, Diana Zirul commented that the goal could only be met if everyone got involved and lent their support to the campaign. The growth of the United Way campaigns has been due to an increased trust that has developed over the years on the Kenai Peninsula, "We've been here and can prove that we are accountable and good stewards of donors contributions. We can provide services that we want and need through the non-profit sector, or we can turn it over to the government, but I'd like to keep it as a cost effective mechanism done through the non-profit sector," added Gebhardt.
The next United Way fundraising event is a Harvest Fest Dinner, September 27th, at the Sterling Senior Center, and October 12th, the annual Pie Auction will be held at the Ninilchik Senior Center, where a trip for two to Hawaii will be given away. For more information on the 2002 United Way campaign, call 283-9500.
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