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Kroger awarded as top United Way contributor
United Way pic
Kroger co-manager April Horton, right, accepts United Way for Dawson Countys top contributor award from board member Chris Gaines during the nonprofits celebration luncheon last week. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Dawsonville Kroger is again United Way for Dawson County's top contributor.

"Giving back to the community when they give so much to us is very important to our employees," said April Horton, co-manager of the local store.

United Way for Dawson County celebrated a successful fundraising campaign March 26 by honoring the top contributors in 2014.

For the last eight years, Dawsonville Kroger has led the way with donations, this year collecting more than $15,000 for United Way's partner agencies.

More than 90 percent of the store's associates give between 25 cents and $1 each week, others give more, according to Horton.

"A lot of them live here in the county and know people that have benefitted from United Way's help," she said.

The local grocer is also the third largest contributor for The Kroger Company among 19 stores in the district.

"We're all glad to help," Horton said.

Gold Creek Foods was the second place finisher, followed by employees with the Dawson County School System.

BB&T was recognized as the top contributing bank, receiving the Community Chest Award.

United Way for Dawson County collected nearly $86,000 that will be distributed to agencies serving Dawson County.

Areas of focus range from family strengthening and community safety, to therapeutic services for children and support for youth.

Rape Response, Red Cross, 4-H, WEE Books and Next Generation Youth Development are among 14 partner agencies receiving assistance.

Joni Smith, executive director of the Northeast Georgia Chapter of the American Red Cross, said the support is needed and appreciated, especially in recent weeks when the agency has seen a record-breaking number of fires displace local families.

Partner agency St. Vincent de Paul, which provides immediate assistance to local families in need, has also seen increased requests for help, despite the economic uptick happening in the region.

"While I'm glad that it seems like the economy is doing a little bit of an upturn, it hasn't affected all of those that are at the bottom just yet. We've had record-breaking, unfortunately, numbers of people requiring our services for the very first time this year," she said.

"We are so grateful to the United Way for their ongoing support of our mission."