SPRING HILL — Big givers and stalwart volunteers to the United Way of Hernando County campaign were honored with trophies, gifts and certificates at the agency's annual meeting Thursday evening, held at Career Central.
Publix grocery stores earned an ovation as the biggest fundraiser, collecting $363,000 from employees and its corporate foundation for the just-ended campaign that benefits 20 social service agencies in Hernando County.
United Way narrowly missed its goal by $12,000, just 1.5 percent, of raising $630,000, which was very good during these tough economic times, noted executive director Kathy Jones.
"It was really difficult this year," she said. "We were pushing hard."
With brightness, she added, "Residents of Hernando stepped up." Individual solicitations garnered more than $12,000, she reported.
Still pursuing the goal, Jones worked the crowd of about 50 attendees during after-meeting hors d'oeuvres, seeking more donations to fill the gap.
Board chairman Steve Porter continued the upbeat mood, telling the audience, "We did very well this year. You showed who the community leaders are."
Even with the donation shortfall, Jones said the 21 approved agencies forwarding 45 programs received at least as much as they did the previous year. Distributions ranged from $10,000 to Girl Scouts of West Central Florida to $60,000 to the Arc Nature Coast.
Enabling the funding, high recognition also went to the Walmart Distribution Center for its giving of $30,000 and SunTrust Bank employees for contributing $17,000.
Beth Gray can be contacted at email@example.com.