In times of economic hardship, the need to give is more important than ever.
That's the message the Kenai Peninsula United Way is hoping to get out this year. The United Way began its 2003 fund-raising campaign Thursday evening with its annual campaign kick-off event, which featured drawings for prizes, free food, a bucket auction and the introduction of the 2003 campaign chair, Rod Cason.
Cason told those in attendance that despite some tough news for the economy lately, people need to find ways to give this year.
"Our economy over the last year has been devastated," Cason said. "There will be a greater than ever number of employees who are going to become dependent on the 27 agencies supported by the United Way."
Cason urged people to work harder than ever this year to ensure the United Way has a successful campaign.
"What that means as well is there will be less support of the United Way," he said. "You guys will have to dig deeper and give a little more."
Amy Manuel, executive director for the United Way, said this year's goal is $550,000, down from last year's goal of $650,000. Manuel said that goal was revised in light of the tough economic times.
"That goal was chosen due to the economic crunch," she said.
However, that doesn't mean the organization is hoping to get less money. In fact, she echoed Cason's sentiments that it's perhaps more important than ever to give.
"If you give to the United Way now, the agencies we support are going to be there in the future," she said.
That's because anyone can need help at any time, she said, and you never know when you'll need a helping hand.
"Life is unpredictable," she said. "The importance of the United Way is you are helping your friends and neighbors when times do get hard."
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