Mesa United Way's 2012-13 pledge campaign has surpassed 27 percent of its goal, and leaders of the effort say they hope the holiday spirit will provide an additional boost during December.
As of Friday, $780,934 had been pledged toward the $2,825,000 Community Chest goal, said Linda Haskell, resource development director for Mesa United Way. All donations to the Community Chest help fund 38 assistance programs administered by 23 charitable agencies such as the Salvation Army, United Food Bank, Helen's Hope Chest, Marc Community Resources and A New Leaf Inc.
"We're delighted by the pace of the campaign so far," Haskell said. "We're seeing strong participation in the workplace pledge campaigns, and a new company, American Savings Life Insurance, launched a campaign which will really help." The campaign, which kicked off in September, will conclude in the spring.
In addition to their workplace campaigns, Costco, Lohman Company, Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport, TRW and Rural/Metro Corp. are conducting holiday toy drives for Helen's Hope Chest, which provides free clothing, school supplies and holiday gifts for foster children. Individuals and organizations wishing to donate toys, games and gift cards for children of all ages can drop them off at Helen's Hope Chest's new location, 546 N. Stapley Drive in Mesa, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Saturday.
More people on tight holiday budgets are also realizing that they can donate to Mesa United Way through the state's Charitable Tax Credit and then get the donation refunded to them when they file their state tax return, Haskell said. An individual can contribute up to $200 — or $400 for a couple filing jointly — by Dec. 31 and then take a dollar-for-dollar tax credit when they file their 2012 return next year.
Because last year's campaign fell short of the same $2,825,000 goal, Haskell said she's hoping broader participation will be the key to success for the current campaign.
For more information about ways you can help, visit www.mesaunitedway.org.
• Bob Schuster is a retired journalist and volunteer publicist for Mesa United Way.