PANAMA CITY - The United Way of Northwest Florida kicked off its annual fundraising campaign Thursday.
The organization is trying to surpass last year's total of nearly $ million dollars, by about $100,000 dollars.
The agency helps fund dozens of local agencies, benefiting thousands of people in six counties.
Kay Freeman says the United Way of Northwest Florida helped her change her life a little more than a year ago.
"I knew that it wasn't right. I knew that I could do better. I just needed guidance," said Freeman.
She went to a class offered by Bridges to Circles of Bay County, a part of Catholic Charities, that helps people become financially stable and self sufficient.
"It gave me the bridge to grasp and seek out the things that I needed to improve my condition," said Freeman.
That's why she was one of dozens who attended the 2013 fundraising kick-off breakfast Thursday at the Holley center on Florida State University's Panama City campus.
The United Way helps fund Bridges, and 56-other non-profits in Bay, Calhoun, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, and Washington counties.
This year the united way is trying to raise $1.9 million dollars to help those agencies accomplish their missions.
The total is just shy of the previous $2 million dollar goal of the last few years.
"We didn't want to bring it down too far, but we wanted to make sure our goal was realistic and achievable. Something our volunteers could really work towards," said United Way Northwest Florida President, Bryan Taylor.
Your contributions will be split up between all of the United Way agencies or you can select a specific agency to receive your money.
Either way the funding goes a long way to helping locals like Freeman.
"One significant goal that I do want to accomplish is to obtain my bachelor's degree," said Freeman.
The United Way campaign runs through November.
If you’d like to donate, first check with your employer to see if they will match your funds. That way you can double your contribution.
There are three ways to donate:
By phone (850) 785-7521
Or by mail
WJHG NewsChannel 7 is proud to be a sponsor of the United Way of Northwest Florida. Our General Manager, Curt Molander, is the chairman of this year’s campaign.