HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC (WTOC) -The United Way of the Lowcountry campaign is starting off strong. They kicked off the campaign Thursday morning at three hospitals throughout Beaufort and Jasper counties, hoping to raise $2.6 million to help fund dozens of local charities and programs.
Hannah Moldova knows the value of the United Way. Citizens Opposed for Domestic Abuse helped her through a rough period and now she is encouraging others to donate.
"It not only helps lives but it saves lives like myself and my children," Moldova said.
While they've already raised more than 25 percent of their goal, supporters told the crown they need everyone's help.
"Can you imagine what could happen if every person in Beaufort and Jasper counties gave to the United Way? We could change the landscape," said Kaye Black, Hilton Head Island Campaign co-chair.
That's what volunteers set out to do Thursday as nearly 150 of them rolled up their sleeves lending a hand to dozens of organizations throughout the Lowcountry as part of the annual Day of Caring.
"Every year I give money to the United Way through my paycheck, but when we got the opportunity to do this, I liked the idea of being able to do something in person, [to] kind of see who we are helping," said Teri Lewis with the Town of Hilton Head Island.
She and other volunteers got to do just that at the Children's Center.
"It makes you feel part of the community, getting in and being able to help," said Sandy McGuire.
"Its a lot of fun," said Sam Burnett, Hilton Head Island firefighter. "It's fun to be around the kids and be out there to help keep this new Children's Center clean."
Mickey Mouse even took part, making a surprise visit at the Children's Center to keep the enthusiasm going.
By lending a hand, all of these volunteers are doing their part to support the many agencies that depend on the dollars from United Way.
"A lot of our parents can't afford to come to the club so through the United Way dollars we're able to give scholarships," said Joyce Wright, unit director at the Hilton Head Island Boys & Girls Club.
"They are absolutely essential," said the Children's Center Director Jan Smith. "It's crucial that they continue giving the operation dollars."
They're depending on all of us to help keep their missions going. Many of the United Way's 39 agencies and programs are seeing an increase for their services but have less dollars coming in.
All donations stay local. If you'd like to donate to the United Way of the Lowcountry log onto: www.uwlowcountry.org.
Copyright 2010 WTOC. All rights reserved.