For the first time in many years, the community came together for the annual Sedalia-Pettis County United Way campaign kick-off with Saturday’s Community Celebration, a fitting event for this year’s campaign theme, “Give Where You Live.”
“To me that’s a very personal theme,” 2016-17 Campaign Chair Phillip Mefford told the Democrat after the opening ceremony. “I’ve lived here all my life and had a lot of opportunities in Pettis County just like a lot of other people. It’s an opportunity to give back to the area. Give Where You Live, that’s your home, you’re supporting your fellow people and your neighbors.
“That’s the whole thing about United Way and community impact — with community impact we want to start at a very young age to try to break the cycles. And that’s what the agencies do, all of our agencies support that very well and then we’ve been adding others, like Cram the Closet.”
Saturday’s event at Liberty Park featured carnival games presented by SPCUW funded partners, free food, demonstrations from the 509th Security Squadron at Whiteman Air Force Base, emergency vehicles from the Sedalia Police and Fire departments, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Pettis County Ambulance District and others, plus music from One Track Train and fishing in Liberty Park Pond with Mo Kids Outdoors. For a first-time event, the Community Celebration was well-attended.
The opening ceremony included a joint proclamation from Pettis County Presiding Commissioner David Dick and Sedalia Mayor Stephen Galliher as well as recognition for first responders and military.
“This is new this year, doing it in the park. We wanted to give a chance for everybody to come out and plus recognize the first responders and the military,” Mefford said. “It’s a tough time for first responders and we can’t give them enough recognition.”
The ceremony also revealed the 2016-17 campaign goal of $506,250. Mefford said the goal is based on the agency hearings and the allocations for SPCUW’s funded partners.
“A goal is one thing, we definitely want to get as much as we can,” he said. “We base it on the allocations from the divisions and really the community support we’ve seen in the past, which has been very, very good.”
Now that the campaign has officially begun, Mefford and his committee members will make the rounds speaking to businesses and organizations about options for giving and how donations impact the Pettis County community, as 94 cents of every dollar donated goes to Pettis County support services.
“We’ve already started passing out our packets, started doing campaigns at local businesses,” Mefford said. “That’s the great thing about that, again with Give Where You Live, no matter how small your donation is, with everybody working together as a team it puts a big impact. So you see a large community impact with everybody working together.”
For more information about the 2016-17 campaign, visit spcuw.org.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.