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From Jeans to Scrubs
United Way of Central Kansas campaign comes to a close
new deh united way penny pic
Shown are employees of JC Penney in Great Bend who were involved in the first fund-raiser for the local 2011 United Way campaign. Left to right are Stephanie Higgins, Brenda Klaton, Rosemary Demel, Tamarra Gonzalez, Amanda Rose, Laura Cannon, Brenda Petersilie, Jean Kimber, Leota Legleiter and Manager Mary Foley. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

The United Way of Barton County opened the campaign with veteran participants JC Penney in Great Bend and a denim fund-raiser and ended with first-time presentation at Great Bend Regional Hospital. It also concluded with the new name – United Way of Central Kansas.

The theme for the 2011 campaign, which wrapped up Feb. 28, was "Live United" and the goal was $225,000. Contributions are still being tallied, but Executive Director Julie Bugner-Smith said she believes they are close to hitting that target. On Feb. 16, they were at 96 percent.

In the end, Smith and company made over 60 presentations to payroll participations, several for the first time, including GBRH and Larned State Hospital.

"Its comforting to know the 19 United Way agencies can rely on our funding to be there when so many of these agencies are facing uncertainties from other resources," said Steve Kummer, executive board member of UWCK. "This is truly a tribute to the generous people of central Kansas to achieve this goal."

UWBC allocates about $200,000 for the entities it helps, then has to fund its budget.

Smith also said the campaign co-chairs Jim and Kathi Armatys did a great job and stepped in as the campaign was in progress. "Jim and Kathi are tremendous assets and they represented United Way with a professional and, positive attitude."

Smith said the co-chairs and the Board of Directors helped with the fundraisers – from bell ringing for the Salvation Army to the raffle at the Big Bend Big Rally. They even took the time to make presentations. "I could not have done this campaign without their support."

Ed Kirk, Executive Board member, said the community really backed the campaign. "Every dollar makes a difference to the 19 agencies and the community as a whole."

This move, Smith said, more accurately represents what the organization has become. Twelve of the 19 member agencies serve Pawnee County, but United Way had not been present there.

From now on, United Way will be more involved in fund raising and promoting its agencies in Pawnee County, and helping Pawnee County residents become more aware of the services available through United Way agencies.

For more information on UWCK, call Smith at 620-792-2403 or e-mail