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United Fund making final push

In the library, at the youth team meetings, inside the hospices and shelters, they are waiting.

All across the county, the member agencies if the Covington County United Fund are waiting to see when they will receive their share of the donations - and how much.

"We're tying it up now. We're somewhere around 70 percent of our goal," said Terry Powell, the fund-raising chairman for this year's drive- the first under the auspices of the newly united organization, a combination of the Opp and Andalusia United Funds.

"The response to the county-wide program has been good," said Powell. "People think that's the way to go," he said.

The original end date for this year's fund drive was Dec. 31, but because of the holidays, some responses were slow to come in.

"We've extended it. We want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to give," said Powell.

Although no new end date has been set, it has to be soon.

"We're leaving it open for the moment," said Powell. "We've got to tie it up relatively quickly because it's time to start disbursing funds."

At 70 percent of the $185,000 goal, the estimated amount raised is close to $130,000, already more than last year's goal of $120,000, which was met and surpassed with a total of $136,000. But this year, there are more agencies to serve. Besides those in Opp and Andalusia, now under one umbrella, new ones have joined, including the Florala Public Library and the Florala Youth Sports program.

Powell said some familiar names on the givers list are missing, and he fears that the United Fund packets may have gotten overlooked in the hustle of the holidays.

"If anyone has not gotten a packet who typically gives, please contact the Chamber of Commerce or contact me, and we'll get them a packet right away," said Powell. "We are going to be contacting a lot of the Pacesetter companies that have traditionally given - and given substantial amounts."

But if some of those who usually give haven't turned in their pledges yet, there are also several donors who are giving for the first time this year, always a welcome event for the charitable organization.

"We have some new businesses that are giving, like Triple H Specialty Co., which has not given in the past," he said. "There have been some individuals, who I don't remember seeing their name in the prior year."

Powell feels confident that those who have given in the past will continue to do their share in supporting the community through the United Fund.

"It's just

a matter of reminding all of these companies," he said.

When the Andalusia and Opp agencies merged, it was done with the knowledge that while the Andalusia United Fund met and exceeded its goal last year, the Opp United Fund did not, largely due to the loss of industry and those industries' payroll deductions. This was taken into consideration, Powell said, when this year's goal was set, and he feels it can be met, despite financial issues in Opp and other areas.

In fact, Powell said, the response from Opp companies has been very good so far.

"Opp came fairly close to their goal last year," said Powell. "They have had a relatively good response this year.

I know the MacArthur campus, which has not traditionally given that much to the Opp Drive, they had 100 percent participation this year."

Last year's fund-raising chairman, Dr. Jim Krudop, now has offices on the MacArthur campus. Powell said, laughing, that may have had something to do with their overwhelming participation. The Andalusia campus last year also gave 100 percent.

But it's down to the wire, now.

"I think next week, we're going to get volunteers and make some phone calls," said Powell. "We've got to know where we stand.

We've got to know if we can meet the agencies' requests, or make some cuts."

The Opp Chamber number is 493-3070. The Andalusia Chamber number is 222-2030.