By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — RIDGEWAY — United towards a shared goal, the United Way of Orleans County and representatives from many community agencies celebrated the launch of the United Way’s 2013 campaign.
United Way of Orleans County Executive Director Lisa Ireland said Thursday at a campaign kick-off event at Leonard Oakes Estates Winery that a $325,000 fundraising goal is “aggressive” to help community agencies meet a growing need.
“We’ve raised our goal because the need is up 10 to 15 percent with our agencies,” Ireland told a crowd of more than 60 board members and agency heads.
Ireland said the county’s charitable and community organizations are up to the task.
“(Our agencies) are truly the heroes of this United Way,” Ireland said. “You do an amazing job ... you take a dollar and make it last like $100.”
The campaign got off to a successful start, with officials from Baxter Healthcare showing that the former Sigma plant in Medina’s employees and new owners plan to grow the factory’s commitment to United Way.
Baxter Human Resources Director Peter Woodward and Baxter Vice President Nelson Patterson announced that the company’s employees have already donated more than $27,000 to the campaign. They then unveiled that the foundation run by Baxter is matching those donations dollar-for-dollar.
“This is our third time at the kick-off event and every year our employees put forth a tremendous effort,” Woodward said. “They may not all live here, but they all support Orleans County. Our new family is continuing that tradition and looking to grow it.”
Patterson said that Baxter’s more than 530 employees have all contributed at least $1 per pay period towards the cause. The healthcare technology company will match up to $5,000 in donations per employee.
“Baxter has a rich heritage of supporting our communities,” Patterson said. “We’re happy to be in Medina. We have great employees.”
The United Way United Orleans campaign is asking businesses and individuals to contribute in small ways that add up to big results — meals for seniors, medication for individuals in Hospice care, literary services, sports and summer camp programs for children and winter heating assistance for families.
Ireland said connecting the contributions to their community impacts would be a major goal of the United Way’s campaign.
“Take a minute today, donate a dollar today and imagine whose life your change tomorrow,” Ireland said.
To donate or for more information about the campaign, contact the United Way of Orleans County, 534 Main St., Medina at 798-5210 or online at orleansunitedway.org.Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.