Day of Caring kicks off United Way campaignPublished 10:12pm Thursday, September 19, 2013
By Josh Bergeron
The Selma Times-Journal
The Selma-Dallas County United Way kicked-off its 2013 fundraising campaign Thursday during its annual Day of Caring.
Executive director Jeff Cothran said the organization hasn’t set a firm fundraising goal, but is looking to raise more than last year’s total of $327,000.
“We decided to do away with donation goals once the recession hit,” Cothran said. “We are happy with whatever we can raise. We not only raise money, we also give it back to our 15 different agencies.”
The largest source of Selma-Dallas County’s fundraising comes from payroll deductions, Cothran said.
Employers contribute by deducting a certain amount from employees’ paychecks each month and donating it directly to the United Way. International Paper’s Riverdale Mill contributes 40 percent of United Way’s payroll deductions.
“We are very fortunate and blessed to be in the position we are in,” International Paper employee Michelle Adams said. “It’s only right that we give back.”
International Paper matches each dollar contributed by employees with 60 cents. If employees contribute $100,000 during the fundraising campaign, International Paper’s total contribution would equal $160,000.
The Selma-Dallas County United Way donates 92 cents of each dollar directly to charity. The remaining 6 cents are used to pay for administrative costs, Cothran said.
One organization that receives United Way money is the Bosco Nutrition Center.
The nutrition center provides one free hot lunch to Selma residents between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day.
Nutrition center director Mary Ann Gayle said the meal is the only food some Selma Residents receive all day.
“It really plays an important role in the community,” Gayle said. “Some people even try to come back twice. They will come real early and then come just before we stop at 2 p.m.”
But the United Way isn’t only interested raising money, Cothran said. Some companies also volunteered to perform small service projects as a part of the Day of Caring. For example, International Paper washed vans at the Cahaba Center for Mental Health.
Cothran said the 2013 fundraiser is important for nearly all Selma-area charities.
“Without the United way, some organization would exist, Selma would be desolate,” he said. “Without a question, we touch everybody in some way.”
To donate to the United Way’s 2013 fundraiser or to participate in payroll deductions, call the United Way at 847-8383.