NAUGATUCK — The United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls’ 2014 fundraising campaign is heading down the homestretch.
As of last week, the United Way had reached nearly 25 percent of its goal of raising $440,000, according to United Way Executive Director Lisa Shappy. That percentage will get significantly higher by the end of month.
Shappy said some of the organizations’ major contributors, including Ion Bank and Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan, are still running their campaigns and are expected to complete them by the end of the month. She added the borough is still running its municipal employee campaign as well.
Shappy said the campaign is on target to raise between 70 and 80 percent of its goal by Christmas — a benchmark she aims for annually. National accounts and contributions from outside of Beacon Falls and Naugatuck will come in after the first of the year — the United Way runs on a calendar year — and Shappy is confident the goal will be reached by the annual meeting in the spring.
“I don’t see us not reaching goal,” she said. “I think it’s going to be hard work though.”
Two upcoming events will help the United Way make a final push.
Community Care Day is Nov. 29. Businesses in Beacon Falls and Naugatuck will either give a one-time donation or contribute a portion of their sales for the day to the United Way. The United Way marks each participating business with balloons. Shappy said the hope is to attract people who believe in the United Way to support those businesses that also support the United Way.
The United Way’s 8th Annual Festival of Trees will light up Ion Bank in December.
Donated decorated Christmas trees and wreaths are auctioned off to raise money during the festival. The event kicks off with a reception Dec. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Ion Bank, 87 Church St. Tickets to the reception are $20. The festival will be open to the public Dec. 8 to Dec. 12 during regular bank hours and the borough’s Holiday Kickoff celebration Dec. 8.
“It’s a beautiful event,” Campaign Chairman Allan Monteiro said.
While the festival is a fundraiser for the United Way, Shappy said, it’s about more than money.
“It’s not all about money,” Shappy said. “It’s about community building, community spirit and the holidays, they bring out the best in people.”
Monteiro said everyone is making their best effort and people are coming together to ensure the campaign is a success. As the campaign continues, Monteiro emphasized that the money given to agencies goes to programs that benefit the communities of Beacon Falls and Naugatuck. Any donation, he said, could be helping someone’s neighbor.
“We make sure people’s donations are going to a place where their dollars are serving the communities where we live,” he said.
Shappy pointed to Safe Haven of Great Waterbury. The United Way helps to fund the agency’s sexual assault crisis service. Although the agency is based in Waterbury, Shappy pointed out that the program served 62 people from Naugatuck and 13 from Beacon Falls in 2012, according to the agencies funding application from 2013.
“We make sure the dollars go directly back to the communities,” Monteiro said.
Over the coming weeks, the United Way will send out mailings to residents and professional offices seeking donations. People can also donate online at www.unitedwaynaugatuck.org under “Click & Give.”
“The needs are still there,” Shappy said. “There’s still many families struggling in our programs that we support and our partner agencies are continuing to work with those families. Donations are still needed. I don’t think we’ll ever reach a point where we don’t need the United Way to help fundraise and support local programming.”
For more information on the campaign or upcoming events, call the United Way at (203) 729-1564.