“We each have our own niche in the community where we can offer guidance and value to the campaign.” Those are the sentiments of Board Secretary Jodie Wagner, as the annual United Way campaign kicks off today with the Board of Directors tasked with leading the efforts. With a monetary goal of $340,000, the board and staff recognize that it will be a challenge, but not one they as individuals – or collectively as a group – want to shy away from. “The United Way has supported - and continues to support - so many wonderful programs and services within our community,” said Stacy Williams. “The impact is far-reaching, and involves all ages of our community members. Without funding from the United Way, some of these worthy programs would not exist.” Wagner says she’s looking beyond the $340,000. “I would love to see us exceed goal to be able to provide even more funding to our local non-profits for the programs they continue to offer to the community.” To have the members of the Board chair the campaign is not new to the local United Way, but new to many of the members currently serving. Each board member is responsible for managing a division of the appeal, but the group will be collaborating throughout the next four months. “Yes, meeting that monetary goal is a priority, but we’re also striving to be the best advocates for the funded agencies; the best stewards of our donors’ generosity; and increase awareness that giving to the United Way is still the easiest way to touch the greatest number of lives,” said Executive Director Mandi Wilton Davis. The campaign is already at four percent of that monetary goal, with efforts continuing through December 15. All money raised will be distributed during the 2018 calendar year. The community is encouraged to help celebrate with the board and staff at the Business After Hours from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm on Thursday at Northwest Bank on Main Street. This event will also be used to kick off the small business division solicitations; any small business represented that evening will be entered into a random prize drawing. And, reservations can now be made for the 19th annual pig roast/clam bake, presented by Northwest Bank, which is scheduled for September 7th at the West Branch Community Center. Advanced reservations are $35 per person (walk-ins will be $40 per person), and include a buffet dinner, desserts and beverages. A cash bar, 50/50 tickets and raffles are also available. Additional sponsorship has been provided by Mike and Amy DePalma, and Glenwood Beer Distributors. Proceeds from the event benefit the United Way. Those wishing to attend can reserve their tickets online at www.uwbanews.org or by calling the office.