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United Way hopes to boost fundraising by $25,000

The United Way of St. Francois County plans to raise $175,000 to be shared by 28 grant recipients in 2012, an increase of nearly $25,000 from the money raised in last year’s drive.

The board of directors included a proposed $70,000 to the area’s six food pantries, which is $20,000 more than those sites received in 2011.

“The food pantries are really getting hit hard,” said Donna Hickman, executive director of the local United Way.

Last year’s fundraising drive raised $151,457.80 for grant recipients. The goal had been set at $150,000.

This year’s fundraising goal reflects an appreciation for the grantees, according to United Way of St. Francois County Board President Paula Jackson.

“We are just so impressed with the work done by these agencies to help meet the needs throughout St. Francois County,” Jackson said. “We seek the help of all the generous people in the county to donate to United Way so we can meet our goal of  $175,000.”

Earlier this year, the United Way Board reviewed applications from agencies throughout St. Francois County, then interviewed those applicants to gain as much information as possible before making their funding decisions.

If the goal is reached, food pantries will receive the additional money.

“We had not increased funding for the pantries in a while and with the numbers of people they serve continuing to grow, we thought we would offer more help,” said Dennis Smith, vice president of the local United Way Board. “The amount of the grant each pantry receives is based on the number of individuals they serve.”

The county’s four senior centers will share a total of $14,000 in grants. The rest of the money will go to agencies that meet a variety of needs for people throughout the county.

Donations received throughout 2011 will go toward the grants to be awarded early in 2012.

Agencies that will receive United Way funding are: The Bismarck Church of God Food Pantry; Bonne Terre Food Pantry/St. Vincent de Paul; Caring Communities in West, Central and North County Schools; Children’s Advocacy Center; East Missouri Action Agency; Elvins Food Pantry; Farmington Meals on Wheels for Special Diets; Farmington Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry; Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri; Habitat for Humanity of St. Francois County; Helping Hands of the Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center; L.I.F.E. Center for Independent Living; Parkland Foster Adopt Families; Parkland Pregnancy Resource Center; Salvation Army; SEMO Family Violence Council; Senior Centers in Bismarck, Bonne Terre, Farmington and Park Hills; Shared Blessings Homeless Shelter; St. Francois County Children’s Dental Clinic; St. Francois County Community Partnership’s Season of Hope; St. Vincent de Paul in Farmington; St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry at Immaculate Conception Church and Young Faith in Christ in the Parkland.

“Some of these agencies meet the needs of people in the cities where they are located and many of them are available to people all over St. Francois County,” Jackson said. “We estimate one in four people in the county benefits from a service provided through an agency funded by United Way.”

While fundraising goes on all year long through payroll deduction and utility bill donations, it begins in earnest in September with Dine Out for United Way, the Girls’ Night Out Fall Fling on Sept. 29 and Wishing Wells set up Nov. 25 through Dec. 24.

In addition, two local groups are sponsoring fundraisers for United Way—the 5K for United Way in Bonne Terre on Aug. 27 and Pedal the Parkland on Sept. 17.

To find out more about giving to United Way, contact  Hickman at 573-760-8929 or Visit the web site at

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