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United Way: ‘We have a lot of work to do’

Max Gordon, along with his parents Gene and Arlene Gordon, told the story of how the Catholic Charities program has helped him with special day services and given him a place to go each day to be involved and socialize with others. (Sept. 7, 2017)
Max Gordon, along with his parents Gene and Arlene Gordon, told the story of how the Catholic Charities program has helped him with special day services and given him a place to go each day to be involved and socialize with others. (Sept. 7, 2017) The Wichita Eagle

The United Way of the Plains seeks to raise 10 percent more this year than last year.

More than 600 people gathered Thursday morning at the annual United Way Breakfast, where the emphasis was on recognizing the tough choices people living in poverty make every day.

This year’s goal is $14.3 million.

“We have a lot of work to do,” said United Way President and CEO Patrick Hanrahan. “Think about 14.3 in terms of 10 — 10 percent over last year and your own individual gift. Think about if we could increase participation by just 10 percent. If we can do that, if we could follow the rule of 10, we are going to have a very successful campaign. The number by itself is meaninglessness. But the number represents so many — some 60,000 people that United Way helped last year.

“The stories are so important.”

United Way of the Plains typically helps fund 78 programs at 34 agencies in the community.

It funds programs such as American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate; the ARC of Sedgwick County; Boys and Girls Clubs of South Central Kansas; Consumer Credit Counseling Service; United Methodist Open Door; and many others. It also funds the United Way 2-1-1 of Kansas which helps connect people to services when they need help.

United Way partners with education by nurturing children’s potential; supports families in building their income and fostering financial stability and encouraging health and proving people’s wellness, according to a news release issued Thursday morning.

“I’ve had the good fortune to spend the past 30-plus years immersed in this community,” said John Pilla, this year’s United Way of the Plains campaign chair and senior vice president of engineering and chief technology officer at Spirit AeroSystems. “I’ve seen firsthand the positive effect nonprofit agencies make on individuals and our community’s social health.”

Beccy Tanner: 316-268-6336, @beccytanner

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