Short of goal, United Way focused on helping people

Rounding the corner into December, the Lycoming County United Way says it has been able to raise only enough money so far in this year’s campaign to “impact” 10,000 people, a far cry from its goal of “impacting” 55,000 lives.

That’s according to Ronald A. Frick, president of the Lycoming County United Way, who said the campaign’s focus has been shifted to the number of people the agency is able to serve.

He said an “impact” is measured by the times United Way program partners are able to offer services in the community. If someone calls 211, that is one service, he said. If someone needs shelter at Wise Options, that is one service. If someone needs counseling, that is another service. One person could use multiple services, or some use only one service, he said.

“Last year alone, through our program partners, we touched residents in Lycoming County 29,000 times,” Frick said.

To date, the campaign has raised $368,000, he said. That’s $115,000 less than was raised by this time last year.

The cost to “impact” 55,000 lives is $1.612 million, he said.

“There’s this sigh of depression when we don’t meet the dollar goal. Every dollar that we raise, it helps people,” Frick said. “If we keep focusing on people, we’ll realize we’re trying to help those people.”

Not making the goal puts many at risk of not receiving help, he said.

“There’s 45,000 people that aren’t going to get the help they need. Last year, we helped almost 29,000 people. That leaves us 19,000 short of last year’s amount. Those are folks who are hungry or homeless are not going to get help if we don’t get the money,” Frick said.

But the campaign isn’t over. Not all of the workplace campaigns have finished or been measured, and 60 percent of the amount raised each year comes from those campaigns, he said.

“My hope is they’ll give more, but I don’t know what they’ll give. We’re cautiously optimistic,” he said.

Robert Glunk, president and CEO of Muncy Bank and this year’s campaign chairman, said United Way officials are aware of the difficulty in the world this year.

“We know we are battling the aftermath of hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes; devastation of epic proportions that require all of us to help. But, our neighbors need help as well and the funds we raise are critical to our partners as they provide services to county residents who need it most,” he said.

Tuesday marked the beginning of giving season, and Frick said he hopes that those who are considering giving to charity keep the United Way in mind.

Visit www.lcuw.org for more information about the United Way.

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