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United Way meets goal
Raises $357,000 in 2011
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In a year where nonprofits struggle harder than ever to meet the increasing economic need of residents, the Covington-Newton County United Way met its fundraising goal for 2011 a few weeks early.

The annual fundraising campaign has raised $357,000 to date, Executive Director Doris Strickland said Tuesday, and she expects donations to total around $400,000 by campaign’s end.

The local United Way set a goal of $350,000 for its annual fundraising campaign, down from the goal of $475,000 the past few years because donations had been steadily decreasing.

“We lowered it because we didn’t think would get what got last year ($400,000), but miracles never cease. I’m a firm believer that if the big guy wants it to happen, it's going to happen," Strickland said. "We had a lot of places go over what they had ever done before."

Local General Mills' employees donated $85,559 this year, $30,000 more than last year, and the corporate headquarters will match that donation $1 for $1.

Snapping Shoals EMC employees donated $10,000 more than last year for a total of $39,000.

"And Publix, what can you say about Publix? I beg (store manager) Joe Bonner to tell me every year how he does it. They have 100 employees, most of them part-time and they donated $20,000," she said.

H.B. Fuller also beat last year's total, with 40 employees donating $3,500.

"Things like that blew my mind," she said. "It's amazing to me. There's a higher power that helps me in this job, a higher power and my board, not me. I just do what they tell me what to do"

United Way supports 21 non-profits, including the Community Food Pantry, Habitat for Humanity and Newton County Special Olympics. The amount given to each organization is determined by an allocations committee, which interviews and thoroughly researches every organization.

Despite reaching its goal, the United Way can also use more money to give to various nonprofits. Small business and individuals can donate to the United Way by mailing checks to P.O. Box 1344, Covington, Ga. 30014. For more information about the United Way call Strickland at (770) 786-7638.