Good News: United Way Campaign kickoff - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Good News: United Way Campaign kickoff

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

Hundreds of people averted their attention away from Irma's track Thursday afternoon to celebrate the hope and generosity that is on display in Savannah every year. 

The United Way of the Coastal Empire kicked off its annual fundraising campaign with a large goal and a loud call to meet it. 

"There are storms every day, and this is what we do with the agencies and people we support with the United Way of the Coastal Empire," said Todd Cellini, 2017 United Way Campaign Chair. 

The United Way was doing what it does every year - setting an ambitious goal not only for its fundraising campaign, but also for the number of lives in Bryan, Chatham, Effingham, and Liberty counties it can impact with the money it raises. 

"The United Way can help so many charities that are smaller organizations that have a hard time doing their fundraising, so by having so much support from the United Way, those smaller ones can get the attention they need to do the good work," said court appointed special advocates volunteer, Amy Whitehurst. 

Individuals and agencies shared their personal stories of benefitting from the United Way funds in the past as the organization unveiled its 2017 campaign goal on Thursday. It was a number that could either intimidate or inspire the person most responsible to hitting it. 

"A little bit of both. It's a humbling experience to set that goal. It's also very exciting to know we're going to do good work in our community," Cellini said. 

As this year's chair got to work, he did so being confident that he's surrounded by people who will meet the rather tall goal. 

"This community always comes together strong, and I think, whether you use Matthew for last year or Irma maybe this year, we do this every day and every year on behalf of our neighbors," Cellini said. 

The United Way Campaign will last for 12 weeks and benefits dozens of organizations, agencies, and programs in the six-county region. 

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