United Way fundraising kicks off with community event
By PAMELA GRANT
Each year, United Way does its part to uplift the community through work with a variety of organizations, but in order to do that, they need help from the community first.
Thursday, United Way of the Greater Fort Hood Area held a kick-off event at the Killeen Civic & Conference Center starting at 11:30 a.m. They offered lunch catered by Let Us Do The Cooking, had a variety of entertainment, and speeches by a few United Way representatives. They also offered thanks and expressed gratitude towards the various Pacesetter Club members in attendance. Various groups and their representatives showed up in droves to show their support of the organization.
The Copperas Cove Independent School District showed their support in a big way with the CCHS JROTC Color Guard posting the colors, CCHS Choir singing the national anthem, and the CCHS Copperettes pulling double duty as both entertainment during the lunch and as the closing performance.
“The community is so supportive of CCISD that when the community asks us to support it back, we do everything possible to say yes. Even though the school year just started, and for many of these students, they are just learning their songs, or learning their routines, or learning the dance steps, we were still willing to come out and show the public what we have, and we’re always happy and proud to show off our students,” said Wendy Sledd, a 2019 United Way board member and CCISD Director of Communications.
CCISD is one of many organizations that donates big each year to help support United Way. This year, they’ve already pledged at the platinum level meaning they plan to give at least $25,000. Sledd said that the school’s fundraising campaign will run through the month of October and they expect to raise more than a dollar per head based on the population of Copperas Cove.
“We’re happy to do that because so many of our children benefit from United Way,” said Sledd listing some of the programs to include the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Communities in Schools, YMCA, Meals on Wheels, and more. “We want to do our part to make it possible for those organizations to continue.”
For those looking to donate to CCISD’s fundraising efforts, there is a United Way representative in each of the school’s campuses, and the various schools will have their own fundraising activities as well.
The theme for this year’s United Way fundraising theme is “uplifting our community” and their goal this year is to raise at least $500,000.
“The purpose of the kick-off celebration is a way of jumpstarting our campaign,” said Aaron Montemayor, Executive Director of the United Way of the Greater Fort Hood Area. He believes that they will be able to meet and exceed their goal.
“When this year’s theme was presented to our board, it really resonated with me because, like many of you, I feel a deep responsibility to help others and make a difference in the lives of the people around me…the people of Bell/Coryell County, the wonderful men, women, and children who make up our community,” said Michele J. Carter, 2019 United Way Campaign Chair and Deputy Chancellor of Finance and Administration for Central Texas College.
Carter emphasized that the funds raised will be used by United Way to help address health and human service needs in our area. They focus on providing aid to organizations which help members of the community with basic needs, education, financial independence, and health. She ended with a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt who said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
United Way helps support programs geared towards helping those in need, both young and old. They support programs from various organizations including Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity, Heritage House of Central Texas, Families in Crisis, Cove House Emergency Homeless Shelter, and many more.
Dozens of individuals and organizations throughout the area have already pledged to make certain goals for this year’s campaign. HEB Food Stores has the greatest pledge achieving the Mega Platinum tier for pledging more than $100,000. Platinum donors include H-E-B of Copperas Cove, Harker Heights, and two Killeen stores. Also included are Copperas Cove Independent School District and the City of Killeen. There is also a Gold tier for donations of $5,000 or more, Silver for donations of $2,500 or more, and Bronze for $1,000 or more.