A goal of raising $250,000 may seem overwhelming, but for United Way of McPherson County, that number is nothing out of the ordinary to reach.

This year’s campaign, Be a Local Hero, kicked off in August 2017 at United Way's triathlon event, and since then, the campaign has raised $200,000. They hope to raise the last $50,000 by Jan. 31.

"As I look over the next 23 days, we still have some work to do to get in the remaining amount. I hope everybody that hasn't given will consider it — we are going to be looking for some money to come out of the woodworks so to speak these last few weeks," said Rob Mackey, executive director of United Way of McPherson County.

The Be a Local Hero campaign is inspiring those in McPherson County to make a difference in the lives of others.

"They don't necessarily have to save lives like firefighters or policemen. One thing that we're trying to stress is to be a local hero. All you have to do is just do what you can to help make a change, whether thats volunteering or donating whatever you might be able to. As long as people are really trying to be what they can to make a change in our county, that's them being a local hero," said Kipp Cordell, head volunteer chair at United Way.

United Way of McPherson County is partnering with non-profit organizations in the be a local hero contest, where organizations nominated someone they feel is a local hero.

“We let them nominate one of their volunteers for the contest and we picked four finalist and then we have voting on our website open where anybody can donate to vote and then we will announce the winner at the end of January when the campaign is done. Whatever agency nominated the winning volunteer, they will receive $300 to put toward one of the programs they offer,” Cordell explained.

United Way partners with 14 non-profit organizations across the county.

“We have agencies aimed at rebuilding people’s lives and a good example of that is Circles of McPherson County, the Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels and we have agencies aimed at building self reliance like the McPherson Housing Coalition and then we have agencies aimed at preparing children for life like the YMCA,” Mackey said.

Every year, organizations are evaluated to assist in United Way’s distribution of money to each group.

“We spend time each year evaluating what results they are getting in the community, and that helps the funding decisions for the coming years. We assess the need in the county and we take requests from each of our partner agencies, then we set the goal and that’s how we come up with the $250,000,” Mackey said. “Organizations apply for it and they’re specific about why they need the money, and once we make our goal, we will make disbursements based on that.”

Companies and corporations of McPherson County are also a big asset to how United Way reaches their goal every year — especially their employees.

“Employees are a very important part of the campaign, so they are really kind of the cornerstone, if you will, of raising money. We also have retirees throughout the county that send in checks and its just finding people that either haven’t been asked yet, or may not be aware of the campaign,” Mackey added.

This year, Farmers Alliance made a donation of $48,917 by matching their employees’ gifts.

“That was a significant increase. The employees gave half of that then the company matched that,” Mackey noted.

Mackey also added anyone in the county can give to this fundraiser.

“Its focused on McPherson County so that is our prime area of people we ask for gifts,” he said.

Cordell said he is pleased with the generosity of McPherson County and hopes everyone will continue their hard work.

“What’s special about it is how involved businesses and residents are of the county. We’re in a really generous county. Its unique to see how much people care and how much people want to help,” Cordell added.

Although the main focus right now is the campaign for United Way, other events like their triathlon and food drive are also top priorities.

For more information to donate, go to http://unitedwaymcpherson.org or call 620-241-5152 or visit their Facebook page.

Contact Brooke Haas by email at bhaas@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.