United Fund drive kicks off

Published 12:24 am Monday, November 8, 2004

By By Michele Gerlach
United Fund of Atmore hopes to raise $75,000 for the 16 local agencies it serves. The 2004-05 drive got off to a nice start at the kickoff luncheon on Thursday when Lions Club president Mike Glavan presented $5,000 on behalf of the his organization and challenged other civic groups to do the same.
Bonnie Bartel-Latino, who was the guest speaker for the event, said she really wanted to put a focus on how United Fund – once "Community Chest" – was founded.
When the Community Chest was founded in 1954, the average per capita income in the United States was $3,300, she said, adding that it was lower than that in Alabama, and Atmore's per capita income was even lower. Yet, the first year of its existence, Community Chest set a goal of $10,000.
"Atmore has always been a giving community," she said.
Among those attending was Ethel Horne, recognized as one of two surviving members of the group. The other is Haskew Middleton.
United Fund president Stephen Van Pelt said United Fund raised $68,000 last year, and with the Lions Club donation and the proceeds of ticket sales for the luncheon, he's confident the group can raise $75,000 this year. Faircloth Foods donated the luncheon meal.
"We have not received requests from all of our agencies this year, but we are anticipating that their needs are probably greater than before," Van Pelt said.
He said United Fund representatives will be visiting local businesses and industries in the next few weeks to encourage payroll deduction contributions. United Fund encourages local residents to contribute the equivalent of one hour's pay per month.
United Fund provides financial support for numerous local aid organizations operating in Escambia County and Atmore.

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