Federal programs hoping for United Way's high goal

By Beau Ebenezer

Federal programs hoping for United Way's high goal

January 11, 2013 Updated Jan 14, 2013 at 11:15 AM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. -- Things are looking up for many organizations in Central Illinois.

The Salvation Army's Tree of Lights campaign made an impressive push, receiving $160,000 in donations in one week.

The organization is still more than $400,00 short of their final 2012 goal.

McLean County's Salvation Army, however, reached their set goal, but officials say the work is not done yet.

"We rely on donations throughout the whole year. So just because we met our goal at this point doesn't mean we are safe for the whole entire year. We are in need of the support of the community to donate throughout the rest of the year," said McLean County Salvation Army Captain Paul James.

Other McLean County programs are stressing how vital it is for them to reach their mark.

Organizations like United Way in McLean County are close to reaching their goal of $4,350,000 by the end of the month.

Their fundraising thermometer is at 87 percent, thanks to the community's help.

"It's very important, the last few weeks become very critical for people to come together,and if they haven't already given please contribute or participate. Or if they feel like they haven't given quite as much as they would like to, to still continue to give so we can make our goal by January 30," said United Way Director of Resource Development, Gina Mandros.

Without the help of United Way, many working parents would not be able to provide their kids with a five day a week Head Start program.

"We have to have 20 percent of the money to operate outside of those federal dollars. And that's a requirement, so if we are not receiving those outside dollars then our local support, then yes our funding would be hurt and the number of families we serve would be much less," said Heartland Head Start Executive Director Karen Bruning.

United Way will add up their final numbers at the end of the month.

It's clear many program officials are hoping that final total will break McLean County's thermometer.

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