The United Way of Kennebec Valley has reported $1.01 million in contributions to its annual fundraising campaign, the highest amount ever pledged this early in the campaign, according to a news release.

Campaign leaders Chuck and Maria Hays told more than 300 people at the organization’s kickoff event Wednesday that the goal is to raise $1.625 million by the end of the campaign in December. The news release said the United Way has raised 62 percent of its overall goal.

“Today we’re asking businesses and employees to consider increasing their pledge by 5 percent in order to bridge the gap for the most vulnerable in our community,” Hays said at the event. “To us, giving 5 percent more each week may mean the difference of a cup of coffee or dinner out, but to someone else it may mean having hospice care for a family member or a place to lay their heads at night.”

The Augusta Community Warming Center was featured in the organization’s 2017 campaign video. The center, preparing for its ninth season, provides a safe, family-friendly place for local people to gather during the winter months.

“The Warming Center is a vital resource for so many individuals and families in our city,” warming center director Deidrah Stanchfield said in the news release. “We couldn’t operate without volunteers, many of whom once used the Center’s services themselves and just want to give back.”

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