Fundraising For Needy Looking Challenging

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

Sometimes it takes a picnic to remind people that it's no picnic out there for the thousands of people out of work, scraping to get by, in mid-Michigan.

"The economy has brought devastation on the working families across this country," says Duane Zuckschwerdt, UAW Region 1C Director.

So Tuesday, Capital Area United Way and area labor groups got together to start raising awareness--- and raising money-- for those who need it most.

"United Way funds programs for 30 charities across the area.," says CAUW President Theresa Kmetz.

Those thirty charities may be hard-strapped for cash to help people, but Kmetz knows this year, finding the funds will be tough.

"The economy is going to have an impact on our ability to raise funds in the community," Kmetz says.

Charities like St. Vincent's can attest to the need for this kind of funding. Without it, they say they just can't serve all the people they'd like to.

"We've already had a 9 percent increase in requests for counseling services, and we've had to turn away over 300 people," says Julie Reynolds, spokeswoman for St. Vincent's.

Reynolds says last year, United Way gave them $100,000 to help the more than 4,000 low-income people they serve.

"It's a double-edged sword for us because you have cuts, but you have an increased need for services," Reynolds says.

"This community has been strong in their support. We believe they'll step up," says Kmetz.

Typically in one year, CAUW tries to raise around $6 million.


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