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United Way begins 2010 campaign

The United Way of Jamestown recently kicked off its 2010 campaign dubbed "The Power of U" and announced this year's goal of raising $185,000 for 22 area organizations and nonprofits.

The group will collect donations for the campaign through the end of the year.

"It is within our reach," said Karli Skjeret, president of the Jamestown United Way board of directors. "I think it's going to be trying because of the economy but we'll put our best effort forward. It is attainable though."

Last year Jamestown United Way raised $178,000, short of its goal of $205,000.

"We did not meet goal last year and we felt sometimes it's better to lower and start back up again," said Karla Bachmeier, executive director of the Jamestown United Way board of directors.

The good news is that if the $185,000 goal is met this year the United Way will be able to give almost every agency what it is requesting, Bachmeier said.

"We just have some really good businesses in town and supporters in town that have really stepped up and helped United Way," she said.

Of the 22 agencies, Skjeret said they range for the young to the elderly. Girl and Boy Scouts are included as well as the RSVP+ volunteer programs.

"It's an easy way to keep all of the donations in the community." Skjeret said of donating to the United Way.

At the James River Family YMCA, Executive Director Mark Olson said the donations it gets from United Way are "crucial."

"It goes to help a wide range of programs here at the Y to help families and children in need," Olson said.

For the nearly 30 years the YMCA has been on the campus of Jamestown College, Olson said it probably received United Way funding the entire time.

"It enhances the community and what we can provide for the people that live at work here," he said of United Way.

Mostly the donations go to pay for scholarships for children who would otherwise have no way of affording a YMCA membership, Olson said. Some funding also goes to family services the it provides.

United Way also helps disaster response and community services like the Buffalo Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army in Jamestown.

Olson said many of the different organizations in Jamestown work hand in hand when there is a crisis.

One example he gave was during the 2009 floods when the YMCA building on campus doubled as a shelter for victims who needed shelter and medical services. The Red Cross was also at the shelter and was able to provide assistance.

"There's a whole bunch of different things that happen when you bring these organizations together," Olson said. "It helps solve the community's problems."

Those interested in making a donation can call the Jamestown United Way office at 952-8929.

"It's your one-stop-spot for donations," Skjeret said.

Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at