OSWEGO, NY – The United Way of Greater Oswego County kicked off its 2011 – 2012 campaign Wednesday at The American Foundry citing a need for immediate assistance.
Melanie Trexler, executive director of the United Way, recognized “all the hard-working individuals who work for those agencies who address the needs of our community. You are the unsung heroes of our county!”
“Now more than ever – and I mean now more than ever – we need the collective support of our community to address the ever-growing needs in our county,” she said. “For example, each year our county had received anywhere from $80,000 to $90,000 of FEMA funding. The United Way would administer it to those programs that provide food to local pantries, soup kitchens, and heat and rent assistance. We have been cut. This is a devastating blow to our community and the agencies that provide these services.”
The agencies are also dealing with other cuts as well, she added.
It means there won’t be funding for heat assistance, rent assistance; supplies at food pantries are low and soup kitchens are struggling to just make food available to the ever-increasing number of people in need, Trexler told the more than 150 United Way supporters.
“So ladies and gentlemen, we have big challenges ahead of us. But, we are a generous community. With your help, we will address these needs and prevail as a community,” she said.
Jonathan Daniels, chair of the United Way’s Campaign Cabinet, was in Seattle recently for a meeting of port authority officials. He said he was struck by the number of needy people there. He encountered a line of people that was about a block and a half long one morning.
“They were getting ready to go into a homeless shelter, a food pantry and soup kitchen,” he explained.
What came to his mind as the immediate needs of the county and community.
“Whether it’s King County, Washington, or Oswego County, New York, the needs are the same,” he said.
He encouraged everyone to think about a need in this county and what they can do to take steps to meet that need.
“All of you have made the commitment to meet the needs,” he told the audience. “You have a desire for change. Over the next several months, I know that you will help us.”
The United Way aims to raise (at least) $800,000 in the campaign.
Campaign Cabinet members Dick Delaney of Novelis; Doug McRae of Bond, Schoeneck & King; Robert Rolfe of Pathfinder Bank; and Brian Finn of Entergy played a United Way themed version of the TV game show Jeopardy to enlighten the audience about the organization and its campaign.
Among the ‘answers’ were 67% (the amount of donations made through payroll deductions) and 1,500 (the amount of the check Constellation donated to get the campaign off to a good start)
The $800,000 mark is not a ‘goal,’ Daniels pointed out. It is an “immediate need.”
“I do expect to stand here in six to eight months and talk about having met that immediate need,” Daniels added.
“United Way programs change people’s lives and help shape our community,” Trexler said. “Tens of thousands of people in our community have benefited from the programs that we fund. We are in a period of economic change and the need of individuals in our county will increase. Now more than ever, your efforts will help address those needs. It is a challenging task, a noble task and one we can undertake together. I ask for your passion. I ask for your dedication. And I especially ask for your commitment to our cause.”
“Our ultimate success will be measured through you. You know what? It is going to be a great success,” she concluded.
For more information or to make a donation, call 593-1900.