The United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades is at 97 percent of its 2012-13 campaign goal with one week remaining.
At a recent United Way board meeting, it was announced that the campaign is just $200,000 short of raising its targeted goal of $8,060,193.
Robert Wilson, United Way Campaign chair and vice president & general manager for Enterprise Holdings, said, "Our community has proven its generosity year after year. We deeply appreciate those who already have given and brought our total gifts to $7,847,870. We must raise that last $200,000 so that the thousands of people in need in our community can be helped to the best of our ability. The 70 United Way partner agencies work hard to help as many people as possible with the money they receive, but we don't want them to receive less than they really need. I am asking for your help in raising that last $200,000. Please give whatever you can afford today by calling 239-433-2000 or visiting the United Way website at www.unitedwaylee.org/donate."
Jeremy Gentile of the American Red Cross' veteran services described how partner agencies use the money allocated to them.
"The Red Cross gets emergency messages to members of our military when they are oversees and a loved one is sick, there is a birth in the family or a death in the family," said Gentile. "We work with United Way 211 and United Way's 70 partner agencies to help veterans get back on their feet when they return from Afghanistan or when a veteran has a crisis and needs our help.
"Recently a van pulled up to our building in Fort Myers with mattresses and luggage tied to the top. The van contained a veteran who recently returned from the Middle East and his family. The veteran had been promised a job in Fort Myers, but after the family sold all of their belongs and drove here, the job was no longer available," Gentile added. "The company had closed its doors. His wife and children were in tears because they had nowhere to go. He had not yet received his veteran's benefits and couldn't get food stamps because he had just moved to Florida.
"We helped them find temporary housing, and helped them get food and other necessities. Now, the wife has a full time job, the children are in school and the veteran has gone back to school with his veteran's benefits," said Gentile.
Every contribution to United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades helps create opportunities for a better life for everyone in the community. Gifts to United Way mean job search assistance for the unemployed, respite for Alzheimer's caregivers, and a healthy start for babies, toddlers and more.
The money donated here stays here in Southwest Florida.