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Heading into the final stretch of the campaign, the Franklin County Area United Way has raised $392,944 in gifts and pledges as of Tuesday, which is 34 percent of the goal.

“This is a little behind last year, however, none of our Top 30 companies have totally completed their campaigns,” said Kim Strubberg, executive director. “The schools have turned in the bulk of their contributions, but are still holding special events.”

This year’s goal is $1,165,000 in honor of the United Way’s 65th anniversary.

The campaign — the single largest annual fundraising drive — kicked off Sept. 1 and runs through Oct. 31.

Money raised will benefit 53 agencies and programs which provide health and human services.

Strubberg said a number of schools in Washington, Union, St. Clair, Sullivan and New Haven are conducting penny wars for the United Way.

“We don’t have all of our numbers yet on the penny wars, but Washington Middle School reported $2,426.79, which is great,” she said.

Strubberg said the annual golf tournament, held this past Friday at Wolf Hollow Golf Club, was another success.

“I don’t have final figures, but it went very well. We had 26 teams competing,” she said.

Upcoming events include the Union Power of the Purse, scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 18. Tickets are still available.

The annual Soup Day for United Way, sponsored by Downtown Washington, will take place Tuesday, Oct. 23. Orders are being accepted.

Additionally, local Boy Scouts will man the United Way’s hot dog booth at the Downtown Washington Chili Cook-Off with all proceeds coming to the campaign.

Overall, the campaign is running smoothly, said Dustin Jasper, United Way board president and campaign co-chair.

Jasper and other United Way board members, along with Strubberg, are conducting rallies at area businesses and showing the United Way video.

“I feel the company rallies are going super this year,” Strubberg said. “Part of this is due to having the visual of food boxes from Loving Hearts which shows how much food can be purchased for such a low cost.”

Jasper has employees play “The Price Is Right” with the food boxes and the one who guesses closest gets a United Way T-shirt.

“There has been quite a bit of interaction with employees at the rallies,” Strubberg commented. “It seems like more people are asking questions. I also feel any time people can see where their donations are going, the more likely they are to donate.”

Letters also have been mailed out asking people to consider a gift to the United Way. Strubberg said these mail-in donations are essential to the drive.

In honor of the 65th anniversary, the United Way is asking those who have donated in the past to consider increasing their donation by $65 or even $650. Those donating for the first time are asked to donate $65.

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

To make a donation, people can call the United Way office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 636-239-1018; send a check payable to Franklin County Area United Way to P.O. Box 3, Washington, MO 63090; or go online at franklincountyuw.org.