This year, the Ottawa County United Way's goal is to raise $210,000 for 14 county organizations.

Considering that last year's goal was only $153,000, some people might find that amount intimidating.

The executive director Tisha Abell sees it as very possible.

“The last two years we've made a lot more than our original goal,” Abell said. “The residents of Ottawa County have always been exceedingly generous and we hope that will continue.”

The extra money that was collected created a reserve that was used to help finance some projects cleaning up after this summer's flood.

So far, the campaign has collected approximately half of this year's goal.

This year the campaign is relying even more heavily on payroll deduction campaigns within individual companies.

“For many years, the United Way has relied heavily on campaigns run in individual companies,” Abell said. “Ottawa County has done it for several and we continue to get more and more companies on board.

“Somehow people don't mind making a donation of money that they don't have in hand.

“A donation of just a dollar or two a week is easy to give and adds up to a sizeable amount by the end of the year.”

The Ottawa County United Way created a “Leadership Circle” in 2006. Its members invest in the community with contributions of $500 or more.

It has 60 members, several of which had their donations made by payroll deduction.

This is Abell's third fund-raising campaign for the Ottawa County United Way.

She had no doubt about what would happen if the fund-raising campaign did not meet its goal.

“The organizations we're assisting would have to cut their services to the community if we don't reach our goal,” she said. “Either because they don't have enough money or because they have to spend more of their time raising the money.”

Agencies that will be assisted by this year's fund-raising include the CASA, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the Salvation Army, the Boys and Girls Club, Hearts and Hammers, the American Red Cross, the Ministerial Alliance, the Harbor, the Miami Seniors' Center, K.I.D.S. Carseat program, Ottawa County Nutrition Coalition, Ottawa County Senior Companion program and the Ottawa County Health Coalition Community Clinic.

Although the donation campaign will be wrapped up by the end of the year, the Ottawa County United Way gladly accepts donations all year long.

To make a donation or for more information, contact Abell at 542-8677.