"We need to get the message out."
That's the battle cry for the 2008 Norwalk Area United Fund, serving the Norwalk, Monroeville and Wakeman areas.
The 2008 campaign will kick off with a breakfast at 7 a.m. Aug. 30 in the Norwalk High School art gallery.
Retired judge Earl R. McGimpsey will receive the 2007 United Fund Community Commitment Award at the breakfast.
United Fund President John Elmlinger said too many times people aren't reached by the committee.
"I think we are at least a $350,000 United Fund community," Elmlinger said. "We need to get the message out. We need more volunteers ... we have to make sure everybody has the opportunity to give."
The goal for 2008 is $320,000, up from $301,000 in 2007. The fund raised $285,000 last year or 95 percent of its goal.
"It gets tougher from the standpoint the goal goes up each year," Elmlinger said. "I really think as a board we have to work a little harder. You can't blame the economy ... our biggest chore is getting the message out."
The United Fund is celebrating its 130th year in Norwalk. It started in 1977 as the Ladies Union Aid Society. The society had four objectives collect clothes for the needy; gather firewood for the needy; find housing for the homeless; and find jobs for the unemployed.
"We're still part of that safety net," Elmlinger said..
There are 60 to 80 volunteers, Elmlinger said, adding "for the most part we try to deal directly with the workplace."
The 2007 board of directors are: Wayne Babcanec, Norwalk City Schools; Terry Boose, Norwalk Concrete Industries; Kevin Cashen, Norwalk Police Department; Marge Cassidy, Norwalk Furniture Corp.; David Cataldi, Janesville Acoustics; Jon Ditz, Ditz Designs; John Elmlinger (president), Huron County auditor, retired; John Evans, Evans Funeral Home; Laurie Flickinger, Flickinger Insurance; Jim Gerken, Norwalk Furniture Corp.; Valerie French, Norwalk Catholic School Elementary; Sharon Harwood, Fisher-Titus Medical Center; Susan Hazel, Huron County Clerk of Courts; Megan Hurst, Monroeville High School; Mike Jackson (Treasurer) Lynch & White Law Offices; Eric Kirk, O.R. Colan Associates; Ken Leber (2nd Vice President), Ernsthausen Community Center; Sandy Lonz (Town Money Saver); Patrick Martin, Fisher-Titus Medical Center; Ed McClendon, McClendon & Associates; Mike Meinke, Bache & Associates Inc.; Chris Mushett, Huron County Juvenile Court; Phil Oglesby III, Sandusky Bay Construction; Ken Russ (1st Vice President), Janotta & Herner Inc.; Ann Schloemer, Key Bank; Cal Shullick, Oglesby Construction Inc.; Kristen Todd, Western Reserve High School; Howard Wilde (past president), Jake's Radiator Inc.; Rita Woodside, Fisher-Titus Medical Center; Linda Bersch, United Fund Executive Director.
For more information, call Bersche at (419) 668-0269.
Here is where the money was distributed in 2007:
American Red Cross $43,000.
Boy Scouts of America $5,000.
CAC Homeless Shelter $7,500.
Cancer Services $5,000.
Catholic Charities $25,000.
Clothing Bank $12,000.
Girl Scouts of Erie Shores $5,000.
God's Little Critters $1,000.
Kidney Foundation $3,000.
Norwalk Area Food Bank $1,000.
Norwalk Childcare Center $12,000.
Reach Our Youth $2,000.
Salvation Army $45,500.
Senior Enrichment Services $18,000.
SOC Medically Handicapped $43,560.
Stein Hospice $5,000.
USO World Headquarters $1,000.
Wakeman Caring Community $2,000.
United Fund Programs $18,570.
Agency and UF programs total $256,130.
Campaign expenses $7,600.
Office expenses $50,270.
Unpaid pledge estimate $6,000.