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United Way hopes to close $300K gap in $950K campaign goal

WILLMAR -- The United Way of West Central Minnesota hopes to close a $300,000 gap in its efforts to raise $950,000 during its annual campaign, which ends June 30 next year.

"December is kind of a big month for us because of the holidays and giving and thinking about all the needs that are out there,'' said Gina Lieser, resource development director of the United Way of West Central Minnesota, which is headquartered in Willmar. "But also it's a time for people to think about their tax deductions and contributions. It's a month that we do a lot of our follow-ups."

Lieser and Stacy Roberts, United Way executive director, hope the agency can close the funding gap through the current Give 5 effort.

Through the Internet-based video program, recipients of United Way e-newsletters and updates are asked to donate $5. They then forward the video to five friends with the hope those friends will also donate $5.

"We need to close that gap as much as we can. We want to encourage people that even a little bit can have a big impact. It's a $5 contribution that can impact by passing it on through the Internet,'' Roberts said. "It's a tough economy. But like always, our communities stepped up to the plate and do a great job of supporting and giving back. We're hopeful."

The process to distribute funds starts early next year. In May, agencies will be invited to submit funding requests, community requests will be reviewed and the programs that will be supported will be notified, Roberts said.

Lieser said United Way's volunteer center is currently quite busy.

She extended invitations to individuals to go online and view what's available for to get families involved during the upcoming holiday season.

"We have quite a few opportunities listed where kids and parents can get together and help our community out,'' she said.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150