United Way

United Way supporters attend a kickoff luncheon Thursday for the organization’s 2013 campaign.

Cooke County United Way’s 2013 fundraising goal is already more than 25 percent accomplished following a boost from area “pacesetters.” During Thursday’s annual kickoff luncheon held at the Gainesville Civic Center, local United Way Chair Laura Otts reported that eight groups have managed to shepherd in $100,456 of the organization’s targeted $398,000 figure.

“We are well on our way,” she said — citing this year’s theme of “Different People, One Mission,” and added that local United Way officials hope this slogan will serve as an invitation for more participants.

“Every one of us who donates our time or talent makes a difference,” Otts said. “Every contribution, no matter how big or small, goes toward providing a better future for all of us who live in Cooke County. We know that we’re much more impactful together than we are alone.”

Otts also said contributions from regular pacesetter North Texas Medical Center were absent from the current fund total.

The hospital, she explained, will conduct an additional fundraising session following its elaborate “Sky’s The Limit Balloon Spectacular,” which ends Sunday.

But it was First State Bank that led the pack as of Thursday, with the bank’s marketing director Karen Cook explaining that nearly 120 fellow employees rallied to raise $50,887 for the 2013 cause.

Cook, a longtime participant in United Way fundraising, also said she remains impressed by the parade of volunteers and donors who aid the campaign each year.

“I am in awe of all the hard work that they do and of the groups of people they have in this community to do that for them,” she said.

Other pacesetter representatives stepped forward Thursday and reported their totals.

Callisburg Independent School District raised $9,000; Gainesville Independent School District raised $6,758; the City of Gainesville raised $10,345; Muenster State Bank raised $4,312; Nortex Communications raised $5,034; North Central Texas College raised $9,480; and Walmart Supercenter raised $5,000.

The luncheon included a video by Lost Dog Productions that spotlighted the efforts of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).

This agency, which is one of 18 benefited by Cooke County United Way campaign contributions, serves as a guidance and support system for youth who have come from broken homes and are moving through custody proceedings.

CASA Executive Director Vicki Robertson, who hosted the video, paid credit to Cooke County United Way for what its resources enable, which is further help for the agency’s underage clients.

“I think I’m able to speak for all 18 agencies when I say that we’re able to be there because you’re here,” she said.

Cooke County United Way also benefits Abigail's Arms Family Crisis Center, the American Red Cross/Texoma Chapter, Boy Scouts/Longhorn Chapter, Boys & Girls Club of Cooke County, Boys Baseball of Cooke County, Cooke County Youth Fair, Girl Scouts/Texas Oklahoma Plains, Home Hospice of Cooke County, Meals on Wheels/Texas Senior Nutrition, Muenster Youth Council, Reading and Radio Resource, SW Diabetic FoundationmTexoma Area Paratransit/TAPS, Texoma Sr. Citizen/Area Agency and Volunteers In Service To Others (VISTO).

Upcoming Cooke County United Way events:

5 p.m. Sept. 12 — Muenster Chamber of Commerce “After Hours” ceremony at the Cooke County Electric Cooperative.

5:30 p.m. Sept. 20 — Gainesville Chamber of Commerce “After Hours” ceremony at the North Texas Medical Center board room.

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 27 — “Power of the Purse” ceremony at the First State Bank conference center. (Ticket prices are still undetermined.)

9 a.m. to noon Oct. 2 — Gainesville Blitz Day.

Oct. 4 — TEAM “Healthy, Happy and Whole” health fair at the Gainesville Civic Center.

9 a.m. to noon Oct. 11 — Muenster Blitz Day.

9 a.m. to noon Oct. 18 — Valley View Blitz Day.

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 8 — Cooke County United Way celebration luncheon at Gainesville Civic Center. (Tickets are $10.)

For more information about the organization, call (940) 665-1793, visit www.cookeuw.org or visit the organization’s Facebook page.

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