Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

October 3, 2013

United Fund looks for tasty start

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — Efforts are not only gearing up for a big event approaching for Pauls Valley’s United Fund but also the new fiscal year that only got underway this week.

In the short term United Fund board members are focusing on an annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser.

The big picture view for the year will be about finding a balance between the amount of money requested by various organizations in Garvin County and the funding available to help.

One board member, Lou Hall, says this dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13 at the county fair barns in Pauls Valley represents a big part of the United Fund effort.

“Our reserves are lower than they’ve ever been before,” Hall said, referring to United Fund monies available before this year’s fundraisers.

“The spaghetti dinner is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” she said.

“This is a fundraiser and we’re desperate to raise funds.”

With this event the public can help by showing up for the dinner, taking part in a silent auction or by simply donating money to the United Fund effort.

Another board member, Angela Portwood, believes events like the spaghetti dinner must go well if United Fund is going to avoid having to make any funding cuts to area organizations.

“It could mean lower payouts to organizations that need it desperately,” Portwood said about the success of the dinner.

“We had to hand out to organizations about $5,000 less than the previous year,” she added. “This year we’re looking at doing the same thing.”

Board members said during a meeting this week in the neighborhood of $90,000 was allocated for the 2012 United Fund year.

The year was boosted in a big way with a third of that total being available in reserves.

Then the projected goal for 2013 was lowered to $70,000.

However, a total of $65,000 was awarded for the fiscal year that officially ended just a few days ago.

That again leaves the effort with little if any reserves to help with requests for help this year.

“We’re starting out a big goose egg,” Portwood said about the United Fund reserves.

“We’ll probably wind up giving out about $60,000 this next year.”

Adding to the situation is the level of requests for money — they’re up in a big way.

This year’s requests total more than $101,000 from around 30 different organizations in Garvin County.

For board members that means some tough choices might be on the horizon if the funding is not available.

“I think what we need to do is look at our priorities, the priorities for United Fund,” said Connie Frazier.

“Feeding people and kids — that’s the top priority,” she said.

“We need to be more realistic so we don’t have to cut funding for these people.”

Right now the plan is for the board to look closer at the current 2014 budget during a meeting next month.