SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Hundreds of donors, volunteers, and community leaders gathered on Hutchinson Island Wednesday to recognize those who have served and contributed to the United Way of the Coastal Empire.
There was a lot to celebrate at the United Way of the Coastal Empire's Annual Meeting and Award Luncheon. During the 2017 campaign, $30,000 donors and 600 companies raised $8.4 million. The campaign never even hit the pause button as they launched just days before Hurricane Irma impacted our area.
"121 volunteers rolled up their sleeves to help local residents salvage precious belongings and aid in the debris removal and cleanup of 59 homes."
Three individuals were recognized for their outstanding service, including Robert Demere, Jr., President of Colonial Oil, who received the Spirit of Giving Award. After the hurricane, he was among many donors who helped make sure the organization would be able to meet their 2017 goal.
"I can't think of a better organization to give money because you know it's going to be spent in a very prudent way," Demere said.
The accomplishments and all those recognized during the luncheon set the tone and momentum ahead of the 2018 campaign season, and WTOC's General Manager Larry Silbermann was named as this year's campaign chair.
"I stand before you today and ask that we be all for one and one for all as we live united and ultimately five united because somewhere there's a 12-year-old benefitting from a program that the United Way funds," Silbermann said.
Silbermann is talking about his 12-year-old self and how be benefitted from a program funded by the United Way, so as he takes the reigns as this year's campaign chair, his message to the community is: "It's not so much about what you can give, but instead, what United Way has given you."
"You never really know where those United Way dollars are going until you really look into it, and I would encourage people to figure it out because there are more stories like mine of people whose lives have been altered by United Way, and they just don't know about it," Silbermann said.
Fundraising for the 2018 campaign officially kicks off in September.