The United Way of Dawson County hopes to raise $100,000 as part of its annual campaign.
The announcement Friday followed the organization’s annual Day of Caring, which saw more than 40 volunteers give back to their community.
Among other activities, volunteers spent Friday morning cleaning kennels and walking dogs at the Dawson County Humane Society and doing landscape work at Abba House and the Dawson County Senior Center.
“Giving back to the community we live and work in is a part of our company culture,” said Jim Devrise, one of 13 volunteers who helped out around Abba House.
Devrise, vice president of Nordson, said the company has participated in the Day of Caring for 12 years. The event serves as a great team-building opportunity.
Jane Alvarez of SunTrust was one of several volunteers at the Humane Society.
“Since SunTrust just recently opened (in Dawson County), we chose to participate today because we want to become a vital part of the community,” Alvarez said.
Helping those in need is a key issue for the United Way of Dawson County, which has seen demand for services rise due to the poor economy.
“We see more need now than we have in my 35 years as a teacher and administrator,” said Nicky Gilleland, honorary campaign chair and former superintendent of Dawson County Schools. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this big of a need.”
Gilleland said more than 500 families recently asked for help from a local food bank.
“The only way we can relieve this situation is by giving and living united,” he said. “I want to thank you for the giving of your time and the giving of your heart to our community.”
Keynote speaker Abigail Cutchshaw echoed thanks to the volunteers for their efforts during the day.
She paid tribute to her late father, who volunteered with United Way during her childhood, and passed along advice that defined love as “a verb that means giving.”
“You have made your community a better place through your efforts today,” she said. “I know many of you don’t work for United Way agencies for money, and you didn’t volunteer today because you had nothing else better to do.
“Thank you for those of you who love your community. It is people like you that make this world a better place.”
In the past six years, more than $424,000 has been allocated to local United Way partners, including American Red Cross, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Court Appointed Special Advocates and 4-H Dawson County.
For more information about United Way or to donate, call (770) 781-4110.
The United Way of Dawson County is holding a hot dog lunch from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Thursday at Etowah Water & Sewer Authority, 1162 Hwy. 53 East in Dawsonville.
Plates are $5 and include a hot dog, chips, drink and dessert, as well as one ticket for a door prize/gift basket drawing.
Organizers will deliver five or more plates, if purchased in advance, to locations in Dawson County.To buy tickets, call (706) 216-8474 or stop by the authority’s administration office.