More than 1,200 households came to the Upper Valley Haven food shelf for help in October, and that number will likely approach 1,275 for November, said Haven Executive Director Sara Kobylenski during a recent United Way gathering at the Tuck School of Business.
As the needs of Upper Valley families increase heading into the holiday season, the Dartmouth Granite United Way campaign is pushing to raise the last third of its goal of $300,000. This year’s campaign got off to a quick start in October with more than 100 first-time pledges in a month, says Gail Gentes, director of action-based learning at Dartmouth and campaign co-chair, but the rate of fundraising slowed at the $190,000 mark.
“Surpassing our goal of 100 new donors so quickly is a wonderful symbol of how committed the Dartmouth community is to supporting our friends and neighbors in need in the Upper Valley,” says Gentes, who, along with her husband, President Phil Hanlon ’77, was among the first-time givers to the Dartmouth campaign this year.
“As we head into the holidays with more than 60 percent of our goal of $300,000 raised, we want to remind those who have not pledged yet to remember that a gift through United Way makes a big difference to so many in our community,” Gentes says.
Kobylenski says no one foresaw the jump in food instability coming because need had recently stabilized after spiking during the downturn of 2009 through 2011. Whatever the cause, aid agencies throughout the Upper Valley need support, which is why support for the United Way is so important, she told volunteers at the Tuck gathering.
The Dartmouth community has a responsibility to reach out to neighbors in need, says campaign co-chair Wiley “Chip” Souba, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine.
“Our highest-ever fundraising goal of $300,000 illustrates our commitment at Dartmouth to a leadership role in improving lives in the Upper Valley,” says Souba. “We celebrate the generosity that has pushed us past the 60 percent mark, but the need in the region is as great as ever. To anyone who has not already pledged, the time to act is now.”