United Way recognizes Bay County Publix stores for their accomplishments

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The five Publix stores in Bay County raised $205,653.86 for its fall United Way campaign and Publix was recognized Monday.

According to the organization, Publix was the highest contributor in our community and third highest in the nation.

"Our little local neighborhood grocery stores in the south compete with those guys that are working and operating on a global scale," Bryan Taylor, the President and CEO of United Way, said.

United Way gives donors the chance to give back in many ways. They can designate their gift to hundreds 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations in our area.

The money raised helps hundreds of different agencies in the area.

"We're still doing the things that we've always done and that's getting in the workplace," Taylor explained. "We speak to employers and employees about donating to United Way and passing those funds along to the agencies in our community that provides the services that our people so dearly need. From birth to the end of life, there are organizations that donors can make a difference with."

"We're not just here to sell groceries and make money," Dan Kinch, the Publix Store Manager on Thomas Drive in Panama City Beach, said "We want to feel like we're apart of the community, that we belong, and that we give something back to all the people that make us successful."

Kinch thanked his store associates for their hard work to raise money.

"There's a lot of fundraising we do for different charities where the community really helps us out with out fundraising effort," he said. "The United Way is a specific campaign where over 95 percent of all the funds raised come from the associates being willing to take a little bit out of their paycheck each week."

Publix has supported United Way since 1981, and this year alone all 1,113 stores raised $58.7 million for United Way.

Panama City Beach Mayor Gayle Oberst read a proclamation at the Thomas Drive Publix and declared Monday "Publix Appreciation Day."

"We do this each year to recognize the many employees that make contributions to the United Way," Mayor Oberst said. "This year in Bay County alone there was over $200,000 and that's a great thing for employees to do."

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