0

United Way kicks off annual campaign

Kevin Butler was the featured speaker at the United Way’s annual kickoff breakfast, held Tuesday in Duluth. (Photo: Chris Stephens)

Kevin Butler was the featured speaker at the United Way’s annual kickoff breakfast, held Tuesday in Duluth. (Photo: Chris Stephens)

TO DONATE OR VOLUNTEER

For companies interested in supporting the United Way for the 2013 campaign season, or to learn how to volunteer, contact Swetha Gupta at 404-527-8807 or via email at sgupta@unitedwayatlanta.org.

DULUTH — It’s that time of year again and United Way started with a bang Tuesday morning during its yearly kickoff breakfast at Sonesta Gwinnett Place.

The event was held as a way of getting United Way supporters excited about the contribution campaign and encourage them to do more.

“You can’t limit people to monetary giving,” said keynote speaker Kevin Butler, who played football at Georgia and in the NFL. “We want people to donate their time, effort and advice to help out all of these programs.

“It all starts with the individual. We want you to tell your family and friends about this, and encourage them to get involved.”

Butler compared the work it takes to support everything United Way does to that of the effort it took to help build the Peachtree Ridge community when the high school opened in 2003.

“There’s only so much the county can do in providing you facilities,” he said. “It took booster clubs, parents, teachers, students and local businesses to help make it into what it is today. And it’s the same with United Way. It takes a community effort to ensure its success.”

Butler joked that this week was a little hard to talk about volunteers since the Georgia football team (he’s a radio broadcaste for the Bulldogs) is playing the Tennessee Volunteers.

“Praising volunteers before the Tennessee game isn’t something I normally do,” he joked, which got a laugh out of the crowd.

Dan King, a long-time supporter of United Way, said the focus of this year’s campaign will be on social services.

They’re addressing the biggest problems in our communities,” he said. “While all four focus areas of homelessness, health, income and education are actively being addressed in Gwinnett County, for this campaign season, we’ve identified health and income as our two top priorities.”

Butler added there are a lot of challenges in our country, but challenged those in attendance to get involved.

“No matter what a person’s talents are, if they aren’t around good people, they’re going to have a hard time succeeding,” he said.