LIMA — The United Way of Greater Lima is thinking big when it comes to this year’s fundraising campaign, incorporating both volunteer efforts as well as a lofty monetary donation goal.
The United Way kicked off its annual campaign, with the theme being “The Power of 1,” differently this year, starting with a breakfast at Veterans Memorial Civic Center and followed by a “Day of Caring,” in which 200 volunteers from participating businesses went to service agencies throughout Lima, including the West Ohio Food Bank, Bradfield Community Center and the Lima Family YMCA, to help with a variety of activities.
“We’ve actually had all the agencies come up with lists of things that would help them out in their settings, whether it’s landscaping, cleanup, or it might be painting or packing food in backpacks,” United Way campaign co-chair Bob Baxter said. “It really is a diverse set of activities.”
In terms of fundraising goals, the United Way is aiming for $2 million in total donations, which would represent a $250,000 increase from last year’s total. Eleven pilot companies started an early fundraising campaign the end of July, raising almost $728,000 going into Friday’s kickoff.
“We wanted to set some extraordinary goals,” Baxter said. “Over time, the United Way giving in our community has remained relatively flat. So this is our moon shot. It’s not about the $2 million, but about what that $2 million can do in our community.”
Jay Bell, president of UAW Local 1219 and fellow campaign co-chairman, hearkened back to the long history of labor unions working with the United Way, a trend he hopes can be revived in this campaign.
“We can definitely have more of an impact together than we can separately,” he said. “I’m here to re-energize that connection between labor and the United Way so we can get a lot more done and have a deeper impact on the community.”
Baxter is urging the Lima area to give to the United Way, ending the trend of relative stagnation that has been seen in recent years.
“We can’t be satisfied with just raising a little more than last year because we’re talking about human lives,” he said.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.