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December 10, 2013

United Way drive hits final stretch

JOHNSTOWN — United Way of the Laurel Highlands’ annual fund drive is in its final stretch.

The campaign is scheduled to conclude with a public ceremony, held in conjunction with a Johnstown Tomahawks hockey game, on Jan. 24 at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

Before then, the UWLH hopes to raise enough money to reach its goal of $1.1 million, which was set in September.

“With $705,000 pledged so far, we are slightly behind last year’s pace,” said Bill McKinney, president and CEO of the local United Way chapter.

“We encourage all residents who have the ability to donate to do so quickly. Many quality programs and services are counting on their kindness and support.”

Money raised will then be given to the UWLH’s more than two dozen partner agencies, including Behavioral Health Services of Somerset and Bedford Counties Inc., Family Center, Mom’s House and Twin Lakes Center/Somerset County Drug-Free Communities.

The United Way directs money toward projects that can provide assistance in five main areas: helping children and youth succeed, strengthening and supporting families, promoting self-sufficiency, supporting vulnerable and aging populations, and promoting health and wellness.

“It’s important to keep in mind that we are working to create social change in our community; where children are more prepared to enter school, where there will be less drug and alcohol abuse, and where the overall human service needs of individuals will reduce,” said McKinney.

“To do that, we are investing in evidenced-based programs that bring about this change. Anyone able to support our efforts are greatly needed and appreciated.”

The UWLH plans to hold the final public meeting of this fund drive on Thursday at Pennsylvania Highlands Community College’s Richland Township campus, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Dave_Sutor.

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