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United Way goal 'huge challenge'

HATTIESBURG — United Way of Southeast Mississippi kicked off its 2009-2010 fund-raising campaign Sept. 3 with a lunch event at Jackie Dole Sherrill Community Center. Campaign chair Dr. Annie Wimbish, superintendent of Hattiesburg Public Schools, announced United Way’s overall campaign goal to be $1.75 million.

Wimbish said, “We recognize that times are tough with the economy being as it is, and the goal of $1.75 million is a huge challenge. However, when times are tough, needs are even greater for many. Thus, I do believe that our community will meet the challenge.”

The money raised in the community-wide campaign will fund United Way of Southeast Mississippi’s 21 local partner agencies in Forrest, Lamar and Perry counties. Already, over $522,000 has been raised in this year’s Pacesetter campaign, which took place during the month of August.

Pacesetters are organizations that hold their United Way employee giving campaigns earlier than the overall campaign to build momentum. This year’s Pacesetters were Anderson Design Center, BancorpSouth, The First, Forrest General Hospital, Hattiesburg Clinic, Mississippi Power, Pine Burr Area Council of Boy Scouts, Regions, Southeast Mississippi Rural Health Initiative, Wesley Medical Center and Zeon Chemicals.

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