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Nobles County United Way kicks off new year with goal to raise $140K

WORTHINGTON -- The Nobles County United Way kicked off its new year last week with a new president and a slight shift in priorities.

Worthington Public Safety Director Mike Cumiskey is at the helm for the 2010-2011 season, but the goal of raising $140,000 is the same as last year. The next fundraising event, the annual telethon, takes place Nov. 9 at Worthington High School.

"We'll have vendors, a silent auction and entertainment," Cumiskey said. "Our goal for the telethon is to raise $6,000."

Cumiskey is challenging residents to match his planned donation of $500 that night.

"There has got to be 11 other people that could do the same thing," he said. "I'd like to go into the night knowing we have reached our $6,000 goal."

Last year, the Nobles County United Way raised its annual fundraising goal from $115,000 to $140,000 and met that goal, which Cumiskey believes they can do again. Many local businesses provide the opportunity for payroll deductions, but for those who don't get the blue donation card each year, checks are accepted.

"There should be mailings going out to residents, or they can come out to the telethon, which goes from 5 to 8 p.m.," Cumiskey said.

Approximately 99 percent of the money raised in Nobles County stays in Nobles County, he said, which covers the needs of a lot of children.

"We did a bit of shifting of our benevolence this year, prioritizing for direct needs," he explained. "Food shelves, the Red Cross, that kind of thing."

The United Way will still support programming needs, but organizations that provide direct support such as food, blankets and crisis management are in more need during these economic times, Cumiskey said.

The Nobles County United Way supports about 25 entities including both local food pantries, local Red Cross, Volunteers in Mercy, the Southwest Minnesota Crisis Center, Community Connections and the YMCA.