The United Way of Greater Niagara continued its efforts to help the community with the annual Make A Difference Day fundraiser Wednesday.
The fundraiser is intended to help the organization’s annual campaign, which raises money for 25 different community organizations.
Volunteers were set up on many different street corners on Wednesday selling special editions of the Union-Sun & Journal. The proceeds from the sales went towards the United Way campaign.
“What United Way does generally, and that applies for all United Ways, is that we fundraise for the community. So we gather funds that we eventually distribute among the community throughout different agencies that we fund and their programs,” said Erika Kastel, the director of resource development for the United Way of Greater Niagara.
This year, the organization decided to have the event later in the year because they wanted to get the school districts involved. Typically, Make A Difference Day is in August.
“We wanted to target the school districts. We wanted to have the superintendent and the teachers involved,” Kastel said.
The campaign will last until Nov. 30 and the goal is to raise $1,150,000. They have raised around $11,000 with past Make A Difference Days, but Kastel believes they have already surpassed that total this year, as they have certain corners of the county they are still waiting to count.
Kastel believes that increased sponsorship from organizations like the Union-Sun & Journal, the Niagara Gazette, National Grid, Wegmans, Key Bank and Ferguson Electric helped raise more money and exceed the past year’s totals. She believes Wednesday’s efforts raised between $15,000 and $16,000.
Some of the organizations that receive funds from United Way include American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of Great Niagara Frontier Council, Consumer Credit Counseling, the Dale Association, Girl Scouts of WNY, Inter-Community Services, Literacy New York, the Mental Health Association, Niagara Community Action Program, Niagara County Veterans Service Agency and Niagara University.