By Sue Moore
“What time of the year is it?”
Laura Howard reals off her usual question to the Vicksburg Rotary Club so the members will dig deeper in their pockets to give to a cause that she has championed for at least the last ten years.
“It’s United Way time, of course,” she answers rhetorically. Howard is chair of the Vicksburg campaign due to her desire to make a difference with those in need, she says. “Giving back is what it’s all about and this is one of the best ways I know how,” Howard believes.
An ambitious target has been set for the local campaign of $37,300, which is $100 more than 2012. The early money comes from the Vicksburg Foundation, Vicksburg Rotary Club, and the Vicksburg Lions Club. Then the attention turns toward businesses and individuals, and that’s where the volunteers come in to help by canvassing neighborhoods in the village and soliciting the businesses and their employees. The Vicksburg schools employee campaign is headed by Tonya Nash. She and the employees have made a huge difference with over $9,000 in 2012 through their contributions.
Of the $37,000 pledged last year, the Vicksburg United Way arm received $14,214 to give back locally to the following programs: South County Community Services, Boy Scout Troop #251, Generous Hands, Vicksburg Community Education scholarships, Vicksburg District Library for its summer reading program, and Vicksburg Rocket football. The local community receives the additional benefit of United Way funding for programs in the region that our residents access. Dollars raised in the Vicksburg campaign benefit the entire community, beyond what the local committee distributes. South County Community Services, for example, receives funding from the broader campaign of the United Way of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region (of which Vicksburg is a part). Over 90 residents received services from Constance Brown Hearing Center, based in Kalamazoo.
“The Vicksburg United Way committee is committed to creating a stronger community, and impacting the lives of allthrough an effort to work together at making real change. Your contribution will make a difference in the life of one or in the lives of many within the community,” Howard states.