United Way hopes St. Charles cares

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 30, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / September 30, 2000

TAFT – They didn’t quite make it last year, so United Way of St. Charles istrying again this year to meet its $1.2 million fund-raising goal, said 2000campaign chairman Larry Palm of Montell Polyolefins of Norco.

This year’s campaign theme is “The Way St. Charles Cares,” illustrated in a20-minute, locally-produced video screened at a recent kickoff at the Occidental Chemical Cajun Cottage in Taft.

“This group really exemplifies this theme,” Palm said.

Last year’s efforts raised $1,158,802.80, or 96.57 percent of the goal,according to Jara Roux of the United Way staff.

“We don’t round up,” she said.

Palm said this year’s goal is very achievable.

Already, the organization has taken several steps toward that goal, including last spring’s Hale Boggs Bridge Run and early corporate campaigns by Cytec Industries and Entergy.

Jim Dutcher of Cytec, who said, “the generosity of this community never ceases to amaze me,” reported that plant’s 515 employees raised $102,940, matched by a $34,000 corporate donation.

That’s an average of $277 per person, he said as he gave every attendee at the kickoff a 100 Grand candy bar by way of celebration.

Entergy’s Brent Matherne reported that fund-raising drive coordinator Stacey Fontenot spearheaded a two-hour campaign kickoff event which raised $2,000. During the company’s two-week campaign, $102,700 wasraised from employees and $3,000 from contractors, even with only 60 percent participation from employees.

The video was the highlight of the evening and included interviews with several recipients of United Way agency assistance.

Nellie Dempster described her bout with ovarian cancer, and Thrift Village Drugs pharmacist Stephen Vial talked about how special drug programs helped Dempster beat the cancer.

A young, single mother, Sandra Baran, talked about how she and her infant daughter were helped by St. Charles Social Concerns. She was also helped toachieve her GED.

Fifth African Baptist Church talked about the Search Your Heart program which provides free blood-pressure screenings for minorities.

Raymond and Laurie Guichard talked about their twin sons, Joseph and Matthew, diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome, and the help they’ve received through The Arc of St. Charles.President for 2000 is Glenn McGinnis, and the drive committee includes Jas Gill for major industry; Jerry Desselle for physicians; Brandt Dufrene for financial institutions; Fay Caire for government and retirees; Maggie Castille for west bank contractors; Larry Owen for east bank contractors; Clerk of Court Charles Oubre Jr.; Billy Thigpen for the 11th annual golf tournamentset Oct. 6; Jas Gill for the Bridge Run; Regina Benoit for education; MargaretSwann for the judicial group; Don Paul Landry for lawyers; Assessor Clyde Gisclair for major landowners; Capt. Patrick Yoes for the sheriff’s office;and Angela Todaro and Greg Mollere for business.

United Way of St. Charles assists 36 member agencies. More information canbe found on their website at www.unitedwaystcharles.org, or by calling 331-9063.

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