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‘Hand in hand, together we can’ PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 18 August 2017 12:06


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United Way adds agency, new fundraising goal



By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times



Seward County United Way officially kicked of its 2018 campaign Thursday afternoon, and two pieces of good news headline this year’s drive.

The first news is that while United Way has lost at least one agency, with longtime afterschool program Latchkey closing its doors, the organization has added at least one new agency with the Scott City-based Western Kansas Child Advocacy Center (WKCAC) coming into the funding mix for this year.

WKCAC’s Vicki Hubin briefly talked about her agency toward the beginning of Thursday’s kickoff event at Seward County Community College.

“We work with physically and sexually abused children or children who witness a violent crime,” she said. “We do cover 32 counties in Western Kansas.”

Seward County is one of WKCAC’s newest counties, but Hubin said the agency has had a local presence prior to this year with a mobile unit in place.

“Now, we’re going to have a stand alone facility somewhere,” she said. “We don’t know where yet. If you have a building or somewhere you’d like to house us, that’d be awesome.”

Hubin said her agency works with everyone from law enforcement agencies like the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and county attorneys, as well as the Department of Children and Families.

“Whenever there’s an allegation of child physical or sexual abuse, they call us in,” she said. “We do the forensic interviews. We provide advocacy, which is probably one of the biggest pieces that any child can have.”

All of the services WKCAC provides are of no cost to victims and families.

“We’re just so thrilled to be in your community,” Hubin said. “We’re so thrilled that United Way has jumped on board to help us help kids in your community.”

United Way Director McKensie Hood then spoke about the other good news for the upcoming drive. The organization has increased its campaign goal for this year from $340,000 to $350,000.

Hood first outlined the process for agencies getting money from United Way.

“For 2018, we’ll actually go through our allocation process, and this is the process we do every other year,” she said. “Every agency, no matter how long they’ve been a United Way agency or if they’re new to the area, they have different forms and packets they have to fill out. They actually have to come in front of our board of directors and present.”

Hood said during this process, which takes about a week, she and United Way’s board of directors focus on agencies doing the most good in Seward County and the surrounding area and which agencies are benefitting local people. 

“It’s a fun week,” she said. “It’s a long week, but we’re excited. We might have some new agencies in 2018. We’ll just have to wait and see. We’re excited to add the Western Kansas Child Advocacy Center, and hopefully, we just keep growing as we raise more money.”

Hood then talked about the importance of Liberal’s largest employer to the United Way campaign.

“Employee giving at National Beef is 55 percent of our total campaign,” she said. “We would have no hope of reaching goal without them. National Beef dedicates an impressive amount of time and resources they put into our campaign. We deeply appreciate their dedication to our campaign and our 24 agencies.”

Hood said National Beef employees seem to have a bigger vision for what United Way provides for local people.

“I see these individuals who are working long hours, individuals who have traveled from near and far to better their lives, their families’ lives,” she said. “I see individuals that choose to give a quarter, a dollar, some that want to give $20 a paycheck to help others in need. They choose to do this because our agencies have been there to help them. Our community is here to help them prosper. I can’t ever thank these individuals enough for what they have done to give back to our community. For our 2017 campaign, the employees pledged $197,500.”

Hood said National Beef employees get paid weekly, and many of them try to give her $20 a week from their paychecks because they’ve been helped by agencies such as Stepping Stone Shelter.

“Stepping Stone Shelter really helps them get on their feet, helps them find a job,” she said. “They want to give back. It’s just really awesome to see what these agencies are doing and how they’re impacting people that aren’t from this area. They come here and aren’t used to the hospitality, so they’re really blown away. Without all y’all, it wouldn’t be possible. Thank you very much.”

Hood likewise thanked all of those who make the money United Way gives to its agencies possible.

“Because of you, your business and your giving, we are able to help countless individuals right here in Seward County and surrounding counties,” she said. 

Hood then talked about “Eat Out for United Way” events that took place at both of Liberal’s Pizza Hut locations, Ruffino’s and JAC’s Kitchen. She said one of the town’s newest businesses, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, will be on board with United Way soon.

“The first 30 days that they’re open, they’re going to donate 10 percent of their frozen custard sales to Seward County United Way,” she said. “We’ll be partnering with Sonic as well this year. We’re excited to have that new partnership and get that going.”

Hood said nothing given to her organization is not taken into account for the campaign.

“Every penny donated counts, and every person that donates matters to Seward County United Way,” she said. “We have many outstanding individual donors, and I would like to thank each of you. I consider every donor a blessing regardless of the amount given. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being a part of this amazing organization. We just wanted you to know how important your gifts were to all of us. All of our agencies that are here today will tell you how your support makes a difference to them. I encourage you to reach out and contact these directors and representatives that you saw standing earlier to see how your dollar impacts and how many people right here in Seward County that they truly help.”

Shortly after that statement, it was then Hood announced the raise in this year’s fundraising goal.

“I’m excited to announce that the Seward County United Way board of directors has officially raised the 2018 campaign goal from $340,000 to $350,000,” she said.

Hood realizes the higher money mark means more work for her, but she said it also means more people can be helped by the funds donated to United Way agencies.

“I know this is going to be a great campaign because ‘Hand in Hand, Together We Can,’” she said referring to this year’s campaign slogan.

Hood concluded by praising the work of all who were on hand for Thursday’s kickoff.

“Without everyone in this room, our community wouldn’t be where it is at today,” she said. “I truly believe helping other people out is why people come here. We’re here to help everyone out. We’re really lucky to live in a community that truly cares about their neighbor and is here to help them.”

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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