Football fans can help kick off season for United Way

Melody Wachowski

Students can contribute to “what matters,” United Way’s slogan, by bringing some loose change or a canned good to the Kent State football game Saturday against Akron.

United Way of Portage County and Kent State have teamed up and are beginning this year’s campaign by collecting money at the Akron-Kent State football game tomorrow at Dix Stadium.

About 25 student volunteers will help with the Canning Campaign, which will be held prior to the game in tailgating areas and at the front gate.

Volunteers from Lambda Chi Alpha, the Black Greek Council and Habitat for Humanity will pair up to carry cans for collecting extra change from fans attending the game.

Cynthia Brunner, coordinator of communications and marketing for the College of Education, Health and Human Services, said it is important for students to contribute to Portage County because they are now part of it.

“If everyone gave just a little change or a few dollars at the football game, it would be a great start to this 2006-07 United Way campaign for KSU,” she said.

Money collected at the game will go toward Kent State’s United Way campaign, which includes money from special events and donations from faculty and staff. The Kent State United Way goal for the year is $135,000, Brunner said.

Money that is collected from the university goes toward after-school programming for children in Portage County, free or low-cost medical care for citizens and care for disabled and disadvantaged members of the community, according to the United Way of Portage County Web site,

“Usually people will donate because they are bored, they believe in the organization or because of guilt for not helping,” said Della Marie Marshall, associate director for the Center for Student Involvement.

“Regular collections are a little more difficult because people are generally not familiar with their community needs,” Marshall said.

In 2006, Marshall said the United Way collected more than $6,000 in 10 days for Hurricane Katrina disaster relief.

“It wasn’t hard because people were aware and cared,” she said.

United Way of Portage County’s 2005 campaign collected more than one million dollars in donations from the community and sponsors. Approximately $600,000 of that money funded various organizations such as Family and Community Services, Big Brothers and Sisters, the American Red Cross, the Children’s Advocacy Center and the Salvation Army, according to the Web site.

Contact social services reporter Melody Wachowski at [email protected].