About halfway through its campaign, the Franklin County Area United Way has $373,180 in gifts and pledges — which is 31 percent of the goal.

“This is right on track with last year,” said Kim Strubberg, executive director.

This year’s goal is $1.2 million. The drive kicked off the first week of September and will run through Oct. 31.

The United Way’s annual golf tournament was being held Friday and Strubberg said with the large number of teams she expects that fund-raiser to be very successful.

Money raised in the campaign will benefit 53 agencies and programs which provide health and human services that strengthen families, nurture and protect children, assist the elderly and disabled, and provide emergency assistance.

Strubberg said over 70,000 people were touched by these agencies last year.

One change this year is the elimination of the door-to-door drive. In the past, high school students canvassed neighborhoods collecting donations. Strubberg said due to safety concerns the community canvass will not be held.

“With the loss of the door-to-door drive, we need individuals who have typically given that way to send in their donations,” she said.

People are asked to mail in their donation to P.O. Box 3, Washington, MO 63090, donate online, or call the office at 636-239-1018.

Strubberg and Nadine Aitch, campaign chair and board president, said no gift is too small and each donation is truly appreciated.

Aitch said the more people who give — at any level — the more people can be helped.

“Donors should think of their gift as an investment in their community and to the future,” she said.

Aitch also noted that administration costs are kept very low, thanks in part to an all-volunteer board of directors. Eighty-seven cents of every dollar collected goes right back to the agencies, she said.

Strubberg said payroll deduction is an easy and painless way to give. She encourages employees throughout the county to participate in payroll deduction if offered at their company.

The theme for this year’s drive is Improving Lives — Inspiring Hope.