United Way closing in on campaign goal in Northeast Missouri

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Feb. 7, 2019 6:20 pm Updated: Feb. 8, 2019 10:00 am

HANNIBAL, Mo. -- The celebration will have to wait, but there will most certainly be a celebration.

Just ask Jill Janes.

"The money is still coming in, and we're going to keep pushing," said Janes, chairman of the annual United Way of the Mark Twain Area campaign.

Janes and United Way executive director Denise Damron revealed Thursday the ongoing 2018-19 campaign sits at 88 percent -- $355,762 -- of its $400,000 goal.

"We have faith we'll get to that $400,000 goal," Janes told a noon gathering the Hannibal Country Club, on hand for the United Way's 67th annual meeting. "We're not there yet, but we have some opportunities to generate some more funding in the coming months."

A year ago, the United Way campaign was in a similar position before finishing with a rush and surpassing its $380,000 target.

United Way funds affect the lives of more than 35,000 people in Lewis, Marion, Monroe, Ralls and Shelby counties. That's about 1 out of every 3 Northeast Missourians. The funding is spread over 26 different agencies in those counties.

"People in our community helping people in our community -- that's what the United Way is about," Janes said.

Justin Gibson was acknowledged as the next campaign chairman, heading the 2019-2020 fundraiser that kicks off in September.

Damron said the majority of United Way funds (52 percent) come from employee contributions at companies doing workplace fundraisers.

Various community chairmen for the current campaign have been Dan and Linda Schmitz of Ewing, Peggy Childress of LaBelle, Diana Hendrix and Forrest Gossett of Monroe City, LeAndra Bridgeman of New London, Gay Phillips of Palmyra, Tara Garside and Forrest Gossett of Paris, Rhonda Leake of Perry, Diana Hatcher of Shelbina and Lisa Blickhan of Shelbyville.

Former Hannibal mayor and current United Way board President Roy Hark was presented with a lifetime achievement honor. Hark has been active with the United Way since the early 1990s.

"My hair was a lot thicker and darker when I started back then," said Hark, drawing an appreciative response from those in attendance. "I have enjoyed all of the years with the United Way and have been able to work with a lot of good people."

The following agencies either have or will be receiving funds from the 2018-19 campaign that began in fall 2018: Avenues, Caring Hands Tutoring Program, CHART Teen Task Force, Christian Women's Job Corps, Douglass Community Services, FACT (Families and Communities Together), Hannibal Free Clinic, Hannibal Parents as Teachers, Hannibal YMCA, HAYS (Hannibal Alliance for Youth Success), Heartland Resources, Learning Opportunities, Quality Works, Monroe City Food Bank, Monroe City Senior Nutrition Center, Monroe City R-1 Student Success Center, NECAC, Paris Senior Citizens Community Center, Shelby County Senior Citizens, the Child Center, Salvation Army and Wider Opportunities.