United Way launches 2014-15 campaign

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Entertained by the melodious sounds of “Squawkapella,” Salisbury University’s student a cappella group, 255 local leaders sat down to enjoy breakfast, conversation and rousing calls to action for helping the community during the 70th anniversary kickoff of the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore’s 2014-15 campaign.

Friday morning’s event was sponsored by Salisbury University and hosted by Perdue Farms CEO Jim Perdue.

President Janet Dudley-Eshbach welcomed the Lower Shore’s political, educational and business leadership, who included University of Maryland Eastern Shore President Juliette Bell, Wor-Wic Community College President Ray Hoy, Maryland Senator Jim Mathias, and delegates Norm Conway and Addie Eckardt, among others.

“At SU, we believe it is important that we give back to the community that has been so generous to us,” said Dudley-Eshbach.

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“Our students provide countless hours of service to people and agencies all over Delmarva. We are grateful for their volunteer work and for that of faculty mentors such as Dr. Memo Diriker and Dr. Diane Davis Hayes and others, and community role models such as Jim Perdue and Kathleen Momme. In an important way, they show our students that service goes hand in hand with leadership.”

Perdue noted that this was the 10th year he has hosted the event, which initially began with approximately 40 attendees.

Guests at the morning celebration were greeted by students in their white United Way T-shirts. They were members of SU’s United Way student club and also the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority, which this year is teaming up with the local United Way.  The campus’ United Way chapter is the first at any university in Maryland.

“SU is grateful for all that the United Way does for the Delmarva region and our residents, and we are pleased to partner with them,” Dudley-Eshbach said.

The breakfast brought local business and community leaders together at The Bistro in the Commons at Salisbury University to hear uplifting speeches and updates on how United Way is making a real difference in the community and changing lives throughout the Lower Eastern Shore.

United Way EOther speakers included United Way Board President Pete Bugas of Interstate Container, Scott Delaney of Jubilant Cadista Pharmaceuticals and 100 Docs Campaign Chair Dr. Mark Edney of Peninsula Urology.

Edney emphasized the importance of supporting United Way and encouraged other local businesses to increase their involvement and be Community Stars.

A moving speech from Momme concluded the program.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to share with leaders in the community how their support to United Way truly improves lives on our Lower Eastern Shore with increasing access to quality health care, providing financial stability to families in crisis, and helping children, the future of our community, succeed,” said Momme.

“This record turnout at our kick-off and 70th anniversary celebration is an inspiration for another great campaign season filled with Community Stars!”

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Following the breakfast, guests were offered tours of two United Way partner agencies, Worcester County Developmental Center and Worcester Youth and Family Services, to get a first-hand look at the lives impacted by United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore.

The day then concluded with a lunch and training session for campaign coordinators.

United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore continues to be the largest                       non-governmental source of funding for 57 critical programs in Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset and Dorchester Counties.

In 2013, United Way impacted local lives by providing over $1 million to community programs and helped over 70,000 individuals.

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