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JBS contributes $95,000-plus to United Way

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe JBS employees and members of the United Way of Nobles County executive board celebrate the announcement of JBS' donation of more than $95,000 to the 2013 fundraising campaign Thursday afternoon in Worthington.

WORTHINGTON -- JBS employees and members of the Worthington Area United Way were in awe Thursday afternoon when the amount of money JBS raised for the organization was revealed.

The United Way aimed to raise $150,000 this year. Last year, JBS managed to contribute just over $72,000, bringing the total amount raised that year to more than $141,500.

This year, JBS employees raised almost two-thirds of the United Way's goal, contributing $95,485.

"On behalf of the United Way of Nobles County, we thank you," said United Way board president Colin O'Donnell. "Wow, that's fantastic! You're making a big, big difference in our community."

"When I started accumulating the totals, after I totaled the first couple weeks and we'd already met last year's total, it brought a tear to my eye," said JBS Safety Coordinator Cindy Elsing. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing."

Thanks to JBS employees, the United Way's goal of $150,000 is in reach.

"We are within striking distance of making that goal," said O'Donnell.

Having already reached an approximate $45,000, the contribution from JBS will bring the organization within $10,000 of its goal, and it's still early in the campaign.

"In this economy, this is pretty much amazing," said Elsing. "I was in awe of our employees."

Seventy-nine percent of all employees participated, contributing money from 25 cents per week to $15 per week.

"Last year, two employees gave $10 per week," said Allison Demuth, HR Coordinator. "This year, 40 employees did."

Employees from different areas of the plant volunteered to solicit money from their co-workers for the United Way. The top six solicitors were given prizes for their work.

Incentives were offered to employees for contributions, ranging from gift cards for gas and groceries to chances for VIP parking.

"Everyone seemed very happy with what we offered," said Elsing.

The VIP parking was a big incentive this year. Demuth mentioned an employee who gave $15 a week and didn't even have a car to park at the beginning of the year.

"Our employees are fantastic," said Elsing. "Our employees are very giving, and they do care."

"It will all go to all of the agencies we support," said O'Donnell. The United Way supports more than 25 agencies in the community.

The amount raised by JBS this year was $20,000 more than last year's total, and nearly double that of two years ago.

"We hope to even grow that amount further for next year," said Elsing.

Daily Globe Reporter Brianna Darling may be reached at 376-7321.