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United Way kicks off campaign

The United Way of Bryan County officially kicked off its 2008 fundraising campaign with a party on Thursday at the Stevens Wetlands Building in Richmond Hill’s Gregory Park.

Community leaders gathered to discuss plans for the campaign and learn how the United Way has benefited Bryan County, and officials announced the United Way’s goal of raising $70,000.

Campaign chairman Dale Critz Jr. said that raising money for the United Way is "hard work, but well worth it."

"The needs are greater in an economy like this," he said.

Critz Jr. added that calls to the United Way’s 24 hour resource referral service, which can be reached toll free by dialing 211, have increased 30 percent since January.

"It indicates a high level of need," he said.

Liz Longshore, executive director of MedBank, which provides prescription drug assistance, was the event’s featured speaker. She said that United Way funds have been invaluable in helping MedBank expand its reach.

"We’re a grassroots organization, founded by, run by, and working for the people here," she said. "In 2007 alone, we were able to provide over $5.5 million in free prescription medication to the community, an increase of 87 percent over the previous year."

MedBank has helped many of its patients to continue to lead productive lives because it eliminates the stressful and sometimes costly process of obtaining free prescription medication.

The winners of the United Way fundraising raffle were announced, and will be contacted by the United Way to receive their prizes. First prize was a pair of VIP tickets to the NASCAR Bank of America 500 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 11, and second prize was four tickets and a parking pass for the football game between Georgia Southern and Appalachian State at Paulson Stadium on Oct. 18. To make a donation or to volunteer with the United Way, contact Janice Blunt at 756-5333, or 653-5344.

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