CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Be the one to help make a difference in the lives of those in need in our community.
That was the message at the annual meeting for the United Way of the Coastal Empire Wednesday as they announced their "Be the One" campaign.
2016 Campaign Chairwoman Kay Ford is setting her sights on another big fundraising year after the organization surpassed the $9 million mark last year.
"That puts us in the top 100 United Ways in the over 1,200 United Ways nation-wide," said Gregg Schroeder, president of the United Way of the Coastal Empire.
Ford's newly-elected board members are confident about this year.
"She's been very, very active in the community. She's been on the board of United Way, Memorial Health, so she's going to be a great individual to raise a lot of money this year for United Way," said Jenny Gentry, 2016 Board Chairwoman. "There are over a hundred agencies in this community that are supported by United Way and if we don't raise the money, then a lot of those needs get unmet."
They are able to accomplish so much every year thanks to the help of folks like John Kane and Don Kole, who were recognized with Spirit of Community Awards, along with programs like Backpack Buddies to make sure school children have enough to eat.
The money raised goes to help more than 100 programs in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties. Workers and volunteers on the receiving end of that money say it allows them to continue to make a difference.
"They break records every year and it's just amazing how many people get out there and help raise funds for agencies and we can't give them enough credit for everything that they do in the community," said Ronald Wilson, Royce Learning Center, United Way Agency.
More than 300 people were at the lunch at the Savannah Marriott Riverfront including WTOC General Manager Larry Silberman, who was recognized as a 2016 board member.
The event was sponsored by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation.
To learn how you can help the United Way or to learn more about the programs it supports, please click here.