BATAVIA, N.Y. — The United Way of Genesee County supports 15 non profit organizations in the community and has kicked off its 2013-2014 campaign by setting a goal to raise around $400,000.
Members of the United Way say they know the number is high but they are in need of the extra money to help the non profit organizations that they support
"If you could sit in that room and you could listen to all the great things that these organizations are doing and how much they need our money and they need our help and they need volunteers and they need anything you can give them, you would see that the need is definitely there," said United Way regional director Erik Fix.
Campaign chairman Robert Bennett says he's confident they will achieve their goal this year.
"I do think it's possible. We will be going back to the existing, at the same time trying to capitalize on a lot of the new businesses that have opened in Genesee County and also to tap into some more of the individuals and maybe some of retirees that used to be donors to the United Way but maybe they have dropped over the radar," said Bennett.
The United Way of Genesee County sponsors a number of programs. This year, nearly 400 volunteers attended their day of caring. Volunteers helped clean up Kiwanis park and make it completely handicap accessible.
United Way also partners with the Salvation Army to provide food to students in Batavia for the weekend through the backpack program.
"On Thursdays, myself and a bunch of volunteers go over to the Salvation Army and we take this food that has been donated or that we purchased through donations and we stuff backpacks full of food," said Fix.
Fix says the program has helped students do better in school. Because of it's success, he says the United Way will support all backpack programs in the county, and members of the campaign say every cent counts.
"Any amount matters if its one time check or a dollar a week, 50 cents a week – it goes a long way and it adds up," said Bennett.
Fix says changes are coming to United Way and they want to hear from residents. They have set up an online survey where they ask residents to tell them what they feel the need is in their community.
"It's our community and if we want to make this community a better place to live, this is an opportunity," said Fix.