United Way Seeking Solutions

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Officials with the United Way of East Mississippi say they will probably have to extend the annual fundraising campaign.

With the campaign set to end in less than a month, there's still a long way to go for the organization that has already done so much for this area.

The United Way of East Mississippi began its annual fundraising campaign in August with the "Day of Caring."

In about six weeks’ time, they had helped victims recover from two major hurricanes. These two months essentially forced the United Way to stop its fundraising.

"This year's campaign is going slow. Obviously the events of Hurricane Katrina and Rita have slowed us up. We started in August, and when the hurricane hit August 29, we had to take a backseat to the needs that were caused by the hurricane and rightly so," said board chairman Bubba Hampton.

Hampton said he believes that over the last few months there has been a fatigue among donors, many of whom contributed directly to other organizations such as the American Red Cross.

"The contributions that were made to these agencies for the hurricane have been spent toward hurricane relief and they were contributions that were very much needed, of course," Hampton said. "Now these agencies need money to operate on in 2006, and that's what the United Way campaign is about, to help the agencies raise those monies."

The United Way is in the first step of its three year march to a million. In 2007, the United Way hopes to raise $1 million to help fund partner agencies. Officials say while this is a very aggressive goal, they are optimistic that the community will come through.

Hampton says that the United Way is about halfway to meeting its goal. The 2005 campaign was originally set to end Nov. 30. It will likely be extended until after the first of 2006.