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United Way reaches midpoint for $700,000 fundraising goal

PLATTSBURGH - United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties is well on its way to raising necessary funding for its nonprofit partner agencies, but it continues to need the community's support.

In a meeting of this year's fundraising campaign team Nov. 7, it was announced the team had reached 51 percent of its $700,000 goal.

John C. Bernardi, executive director of the organization, said the accomplishment is one that is especially important given the concerns of home heating costs this winter and the overall state of the economy.

"We have to thank the people of the North Country for stepping up to the plate, because they've recognized the needs are greater this year," said Bernardi. "They understand that need is out there, especially in this tough economy."

Denton Publications Inc. owner and publisher Daniel E. Alexander, who serves as chairman for this year's campaign, said the amount people have given despite those economic concerns is impressive.

"Being on pace with last year, knowing the economic situation facing the country, is very encouraging," said Alexander. "Members of our community recognize the responsibility they have towards their fellow citizens and remain diligent in maintaining their level of commitment through the United Way."

While the accomplishment of reaching the halfway point is one to be proud of, said Alexander, the campaign team won't be resting on its laurels.

"From this point forward we'll all have to remain focused on the mission if we hope to realize the goal this year," he said. "We encourage everyone to participate in this year's drive and if you haven't been a part of the United Way drive in the past, please consider lending a hand this year with at least a modest contribution."

The local United Way assists 33 partner agencies in Clinton and Essex counties each year, fundraising on their behalf. Organizations such as Adirondack Experience Inc. in Lake Placid, which provides year-round adventure-based programs for at-risk-youth, and Substance Abuse Prevention Team of Essex County Inc. in Ticonderoga are just a few examples of those that benefit from the United Way's efforts. Other organizations like Hospice of the North Country, which provides end-of-life care for those with terminal illness or Family Promise of Clinton County, which provides accommodations and meals for homeless families, also benefit, helping an even wider range of those in need.

"What people have to realize is that the United Way touches their lives or the lives of someone close to them, eventually, in some form or another," said team member Lisa VanNatten, with CVPH Medical Center.

Donations to the United Way may be made directly to the local chapter, located at 45 Tom Miller Road, or through a payroll deduction, which may be arranged through one's employer.

For more information about how to contribute to the 2008-09 United Way fundraising campaign, call 563-0028 or visit www.unitedwayce.org.

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