United Way Makes Great Strides

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The United Way of East Mississippi happily announced it has now reached 95 percent of its fundraising goal for 2005. Originally set at $700,000, the goal was bumped up to $800,000 after Hurricane Katrina.

"Because of the hurricane, so many agencies had to go out and do more services beyond what they had anticipated," said United Way's Gary Wilkinson.

Many agencies, such as the Community of Hope Tutoring Program, which hires high school students to tutor younger students, rely heavily on the United Way's support.

"We depend so much on their support to help our program go along through the year," said Ducky McCormick of Community of Hope. "And every year it's the same thing. We need the community support through The United Way to help us with our program."

Recently, WTOK-TV and FOX Meridian hosted a town meeting with The United Way and the agencies it supports to highlight what the agency does and what it needs. At that time, it seemed like the goal was out of reach.

Instead, 15 percent more of the total has been raised. The United Way has two more days to reach its 2005 fundraising goal of $800,000. The 2006 campaign begins Feb. 1.