Local News

United Way drive begins

Posted September 3, 2009 4:50 p.m. EDT
Updated September 8, 2009 10:56 p.m. EDT

The United Way kicked off its annual fund-raising campaign in Raleigh Thursday amid concerns that raising money will be harder than ever in this down economy.

As the economy sputters, more people are facing financial pressure. Local charities see increased need and say their pleas for help are even more urgent than in year’s past.

Organizers of the “Live United” campaign are worried that families may limit donations this year under the strain of tighter household budgets. Campaign Chairman John Stallings recognizes the challenge.

"This year, it's a challenging economy. Everyone knows someone that's been impacted in some way – layoffs, 9 percent unemployment rate. More than ever, people are feeling the need," he said.

He hopes the public will translate that feeling into giving. The campaign has a goal to raise $17 million.

"I think people will be more aware of the need out there and may be willing to dig a little deeper,” he said. “Find a way to make a contribution because it helps so many people."

The United Way works with a total of 95 non-profit groups in the Triangle. Many food pantries and other organizations have reported a 30 percent increase in requests for help this calendar year.

Laura Benson helps homeless families find a place to live. She said this year donations will be critical.

“We make sure that what we say we're going to do, really happens in the community," she said.

Organizers said giving to the United Way is one way community members can stand strong for the less fortunate.