United Way fundraising shortfall could hurt day care center

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In a time where many people stretch every dollar to make ends meet, the United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois struggles as well.

They are about $108,000 short of its $2.5-million fundraising goal. Without that money, the agency may not be able to help as many programs as it otherwise could.

Decatur Day Care Center caters only to parents who are working or finishing their education and most receive financial assistance.

"I don't think I'd be where I am today without their support, their guidance, their support of my son," said Decatur Day Care Board President, Cathy Mansur.

Twenty years ago, as a 19-year-old single mom, Cathy enrolled her son at the Decatur Day Care Center so she could get her college degree. She's now a CPA and a partner at a local firm.

The center has a budget of about $1-million a year. About a quarter of that comes from United Way funding and that money helps plenty of parents, just like it helped Cathy. About 90-percent of parents who send their kids here get help paying the cost through united way money.

"There are so many people that need just a little bit of help," Mansur said. "Whether it's financial help, whether it's just emotional help, saying, yes, my kid's fine, I can do what I need to do during the day."

The center now serves almost 150 kids. And now Cathy is on the other side.

"I look back on my time at Decatur Day Care Center when I was started out and I feel as president of the board now, I feel that's my way of giving back for all of the help and assistance they gave me," said Mansur.

Decatur Day Care Center opened in 1918 and now welcomes kids from six weeks old through 6th grade.

If you want to donate to the United Way to help programs like that one, you can find a link under sitewatch or call 422-8537. You can also send a donation to 202 E. Eldorado, Suite B, Decatur 62523.

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