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United Way kicks off fundraising campaign
Group's goal set at $1.8 million
Mike “Moonpie” Wilson holds a box representing his interest in football, while Tommy Aaron holds a box representing golf. - photo by SAVANNAH KING

Their differences are easy to spot: One likes to ride motorcycles, the other bicycles; one is a football fan and the other prefers golf.

Even though the members of United Way of Hall County have different ideas, interests or points of view, they share the common goal of improving lives across the county.

United Way of Hall County announced its goal of raising $1.8 million at Tuesday morning’s annual campaign kickoff.

The campaign usually runs from September through March but several supporters have been busy raising funds to jump-start the group’s campaign. Together the organization’s cornerstone companies have raised $450,000.

“This is a good year. We have a lot of strong support from the community,” said Jackie Wallace, United Way of Hall County president.

Hundreds of supporters attended the 8 a.m. breakfast at the Gainesville Civic Center.

The organization’s theme for the year is “united by mission.” Several members took to the stage to illustrate that although they may be different, they are united by a cause.

All carried blocks with something that made them unique written on the side. The blocks were pieced together to build a wall.

People in the audience participated, too, by writing down their traits or interests.

The organization’s goal is to improve the lives of people in Hall County through the building blocks of a good life, education, income and health, and to help unite people in need with the resources that can help them overcome obstacles.

Campaign Chairman Philip Wilheit Jr. said the problems people face with education, income and health are far too complex for any one organization to try to solve alone.

“It requires a collaborative effort from nonprofits, businesses, government and individuals to achieve the change we want to see,” Wilheit said.

The organization will have a fundraiser Sunday at Hollywood Stadium Cinemas in Gainesville, and 100 percent of ticket and concession sales will benefit the campaign. It will also have a Live United night Nov. 9 at the football game between Gainesville and Flowery Branch high schools.

Wallace thanked the many supporters for their commitment and for a great start to the campaign.

“We cannot build this alone. It will take us all to build the kind of community we want to have,” Wallace said.

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