5 United Ways combining for final push toward goal

Bad economic conditions have taken a toll on giving to the UW campaigns.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Five area United Ways in Ohio and Pennsylvania will participate in the Rally for the Valley on Monday to raise money to wrap up their 2006 financial campaigns.
That day, the United Ways of Mahoning, Trumbull and Northern Columbiana counties in Ohio, and Mercer and Lawrence counties in western Pennsylvania, will conduct a business blitz and phone-a-thon.
From 8 to 10 p.m., the Rally for the Valley telethon will be aired live on WYTV Channel 33.
To date, the five United Ways have collectively raised 5,481,920, or 84 percent of their combined 6.5 million goal, said JoAnn Stock, Youngstown/Mahoning Valley United Way director of marketing and resource development, and coordinator of the five-county effort.
Bad economic conditions, fueled by downsizing, layoffs and plant closings, have taken a toll on giving to the local United Way campaigns, she said.
"We are joining together ... to help people right here at home in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys. We must do whatever it takes to reach our respective goals, and we need the support of our local communities to do it," she said.
Where money goes
Collectively, the five United Ways fund 271 programs of 121 local agencies. In 2006, some 300,000 individuals in the five-county area received help from these United Way-funded programs, Stock said.
During the Rally for the Valley, staff and volunteers from each United Way will contact local businesses and individuals who have not yet given to the local campaign. All pledges received during the day will be announced that evening on the television station.
The telethon will feature vignettes of individuals who have been helped by United Way-funded programs, as well as live interviews with UW volunteers, agency representatives, and representatives from local businesses, Stock said.
Every 30 minutes during the telethon, prize packages will be raffled off to donors who give at various levels. Additionally, all donors who contribute a gift of 100 or more during the fund-raising effort will be entered into a drawing for a seven-day, six-night Valentine's Day getaway to St. Kitts in the British West Indies, courtesy of Carlson Wagonlit Travel and WYTV.
"It is time for everyone in our community to rally around our local United Ways and support those in need right here in the Mahoning and Shenango valleys," said Stock. For more information, contact (330) 746-8494.

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