SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The United Way of the Coastal Empire held their big fundraiser kick off on Thursday.
And in true United Way style, they announced a lofty goal during the luncheon at the Savannah Civic Center.
This year, they're trying to raise $8.3 million.
"It's going to be a very difficult amount to achieve," said United Way of the Coastal Empire CEO/President Gregg Schroeder.
Schroeder says it's a lot of money for a community of our size. But it all goes to fund more than 100 programs in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty counties.
"Historically the people in this area have been very generous. We're hopeful they'll be really generous again this year because we really need it this year," said Schroeder.
Shelby McInnis is with Family Promise in Effingham. She says without the support of the United Way, they simply wouldn't be able to help as many homeless people get back on their feet.
"We would not have as many resources that is for sure and we probably wouldn't have as big of a success rate with our families as we do," McInnis said.
She sees firsthand how this money changes lives.
"Just a sign of hope and security in the fact that there are people out there that want to help and can help," she said.
Schroeder hopes this year's theme, "Be The One", will encourage folks to be the one to give to the community.
"It's really a personal call to action to get involved, to contribute, and to find a way to help the community through the United Way," Schroeder said.
The event Thursday was a sell-out crowd of 1,100 people. Last year, the group raised a little more than $9 million.
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